This monster should have been strangled in its cradle 40 years ago.
Those of us who were in college humanities and social science departments at the time witnessed its birth. I was a grad student in English when postmodern schools of literary criticism took root in my department. The deconstructionists had bought into an approach to literature—or to all “texts,” as they liked to put it—and in fact to reality itself, that seemed calculated ultimately to undermine any concept of objective truth and justice. The feminist critics, for example, based their entire enterprise on the firm belief that the history of humanity was one of non-stop oppression of women.
Meanwhile, much the same thing was happening in the other humanities and social studies departments. Many of the people who’d been college students in the 1960s were now, in the years around 1980, young assistant professors at the beginning of their academic careers. As students, between their marches and sit-ins and riots, they’d eagerly passed around copies of books by such ardent haters of the West as Antonio Gramsci, Paulo Freire, and Frantz Fanon.
From those books, they learned to see America as the very incarnation of evil and to admire the Chinese cultural revolution. In their dorms they hung posters of Mao Zedong and Ché Guevara. Now they were spreading their poisonous ideologies in college classrooms, encouraging contempt for everything of value—civilization, freedom, high art, capitalism, and social order.
As I say, some of us witnessed the start of this takeover. I was just a powerless student. But the senior faculty had power. They despised this stuff. Aside from being potentially very destructive, it had nothing whatsoever to do with the serious study of—well—anything. On the other hand, the older professors believed in diversity of thought. So they let it happen.
And soon they retired, the Marxists and anarchists, now in charge of the departments—tenured radicals, as Roger Kimball famously called them—began hiring others like themselves and nobody else, because that’s what radicals do. And before long, the humanities and social studies departments of many universities, especially the most prestigious of them, were little more than indoctrination centers for the far Left.
The graduates they turned out went into a variety of fields—from law to the news media, from the entertainment industry to government. The quintessential product of these far-Left factories was Barack Obama.
Yes, from the time he appeared on the scene, Obama was seductive. He cut an attractive, dignified figure. He was well-spoken. His self-presentation was cool, smooth. He looked and sounded like the kind of guy you’d want to be the first black president of the United States.
But behind the façade, his intimate ties to people like Jeremiah Wright should have made it obvious what he was all about. Ditto a close reading of his autobiography. Yet millions who should have known better voted for him anyway, thinking that it was time for a black president and that, at the very least, his election would put an end, once and for all, to America’s racial divisions.
And so he was anointed. Far from healing racial wounds, however, he managed to pull off all the scabs. In his first speech outside the United States, he painted a picture of America that would have had Frantz Fanon nodding vigorously and served up a glorious image of the Islamic world that bore not the slightest resemblance to reality. He reached out a hand of comradery to the Castro regime and repeatedly kicked Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, in the teeth.
Throughout his eight years in the White House, Obama pursued a dangerous agenda, showing contempt for American workers and America’s allies while courting our enemies. Millions failed to realize just how appalling he was, thanks to his allies in the mainstream media and Hollywood. They’d all been taught the same postmodern claptrap that Obama had been taught, and consequently felt everything he did and said as president was just peachy. And so they had his back.
When Hillary Clinton referred to Americans in flyover country as “deplorables,” maybe it was unfair of those Americans to focus all their ire on her; because Obama had made it clear over and over again that he felt exactly the same way about them. So did any number of big cultural and political names in New York, L.A., and Washington, who’d learned in college that the proper reaction, when one espied a patriotic, hard-working, law-abiding middle American, was utter contempt.
Which, of course, is why all those deplorables voted for Trump, the only GOP candidate in 2016 who dared to take on coastal-elite America-hatred. And after his election—given these elites’ toxic hatred of American values, and given that they’d tasted what it was like to have one of their own in the White House for eight years—it was only to be expected that Trump would spend his first term as president fighting to stay in office. Naturally, they made up bald-faced lies about him—they’d learned that duplicity in the cause of their ideology was a virtue.
And when the anti-Trump lies failed and the liars began to be exposed one by one—what to do, then, with an election only a few months away? What to do, when your decades-long quiet revolution is threatened? What to do, when their own candidate was a feeble, dithering shell of the corrupt, uninspiring mediocrity that he used to be?
Well, of course, the last remaining option, in that desperate moment, was violence. Vandalism. Fires. Mass destruction of property.
And then blaming it all on white nationalists. Or suggesting that it’s not yet clear who the real perpetrators are.
Make no mistake: the near-unanimity with which the mainstream media have tried to cover for the rioters and deny the truth is stunning. The New York Times on Sunday published a “news analysis” in which Neil MacFarquhar declared that Antifa doesn’t exist—an outrageous assertion contradicted by numerous Times news stories over the last few years. He also quoted Keith Ellison, the former congressman and current Minnesota attorney general, who said “nobody really knows” who’s behind the violent protests. MacFarquhar should have asked for the thoughts of Ellison’s son Jeremiah—who on the same day, in the midst of all the mayhem—tweeted his support for Antifa.
Jeremiah Ellison wasn’t the only child of a prominent politician who made clear his loyalties in the matter. To no one’s surprise, the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) also tweeted her support for Antifa. On May 31, New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara, was arrested at an Antifa riot in that city. And let’s not forget CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who is the brother of the governor of New York, and who has also defended Antifa from critics. All of which helps remind us that many of the politicians who are supposed to protect ordinary citizens from violence are, in fact, on the same side as the rioters who are out to destroy.
No, we should have strangled this monster in the cradle 40 years ago. Now that it’s grown into a million-headed creature whose tentacles reach into every corner of the United States, it’s too big to kill.