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September 23rd, 2017

Insight

Political biology on American campuses: The left's angry young devour the liberal old

John Kass

By John Kass

Published June 8, 2017

What should we call the disturbing trend on American college campuses with students of the hard left angrily devouring their terrified and older liberal professors?

No, they don't eat human flesh, but students of the hard left are devouring just the same, shutting down free speech and free inquiry, and targeting liberal professors for silencing and revenge for offering up liberal notions of equality.

We've seen it at Yale with two liberal professors denounced as racists, shamed and driven off for daring to tell students there may be more important things to worry about than vetting Halloween costumes through the lens of racial identity politics.

And we see it now at Evergreen State College, a left-leaning school where Bret Weinstein, a professor of biology, is under siege for daring to suggest that racism, even when practiced by minorities, is no virtue.

You can't truly study a thing until you call it what it is. So what to call it? Many haven't had the time, preoccupied instead with the low-hanging fruit of President Donald Trump's ridiculous Twitter account.

I get it. Headline: Trump Tweets Stupid Things. His foolish social media tantrums reinforce his narcissism. They undercut his administration's policies.

The man is in the White House as a consequence of Republican establishment collapse and betrayal of its base years ago.

But with all those ripe, idiotic presidential figs falling into pundits' hands, journalism has been somewhat distracted from the Democratic tension on college campuses.

What happened to the Republicans years ago -- a collapse of the middle ground -- is now happening to the Democrats, and it bears watching too.

So what shall we call it?

We might find the answer in the remarks of Robespierre, a student of the use of fear and the mob. But who reads European history anymore?

As the academy moves inexorably leftward, few conservatives remain on college campuses. Conservative professors may be such an endangered species that there's probably no sport in chasing them across the quad.

But it has become clear even to a few prominent liberal writers that liberal professors have become the targets of the hard left.

It looks like meat's back on the menu, boys and girls.

So again, what do we call this phenomenon?

Professor Weinstein is a biologist. His politics are liberal. And biology offers us an answer:

Matriphagy, the devouring of the mother by their young.

I suppose I could call it patriphagy, the devouring of the father, but I don't want to be denounced as some kind of science denier. Biology is clear in stubbornly insisting that despite our modern politics, the mother gives birth.

Matriphagy is a rare occurrence found among certain spiders and the caecilian, a blind, legless amphibian that lives underground.

Some spiders, for example, give birth, and later deposit food sacks around the web for their young to eat. But when these sacks are gone, something else must be done. The young must eat, and develop necessary predatory behavior in order to survive. And nature provides an answer.

The mother spider stimulates the young by thrumming on her web. She triggers them. And once triggered, they sink their fangs into her and begin to feed.

Even as I type this I can hear it now, the cries of anger about my sins of micro or macro aggression, perhaps yelled through those black masks worn by the young fascists of the left, for daring to compare them to ravenous spider babies.

Professor Weinstein is a self-described liberal who held close to a liberal idea, best expressed by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He had a dream, remember? He dreamed that one day, people would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. These days, it's the conservatives who support this idea as the left moves further into race- and gender-based identity politics.

But Professor Weinstein incurred the wrath of the leftist mob by opposing a new take on the so-called Day of Absence at Evergreen State.

In the past, minorities made themselves absent from campus to highlight racial discrimination, hence the Day of Absence. Weinstein supported this.

What he would not support was a new demand of the angry left, to compel white students to leave campus grounds.

"On a college campus, one's right to speak -- or to be -- must never be based on skin color," he wrote in a private email to a colleague that was made public and incited hatred against him.

In it, he highlighted the differences between the original Day of Absence and the new racial component.

"The first is a forceful call to consciousness which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself."

That makes great sense. But he's now been denounced by some faculty members scrambling to get ahead of the young mob on the left. And campus police suggested he leave school grounds, at least for a day or two, because they could not protect him from his students.

The liberal as heretic, pursued and denounced by the angry children of the liberal ideal.

It may not be as thrilling as those cringeworthy presidential tweets. But it's out there.

It is not the first such episode. And it won't be the last.

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