The James Lewis column I just linked has provoked some vehemently negative dissent from Hilzoy on the left, who was so enraged that she accidentally deleted her first draft, but managed finally to conclude:
it’s just another hit piece against an academic department that makes precisely no attempt to characterize that department accurately, that Lewis chooses instead to treat the members of that department as mere instantiations of some “trend” that exists only in his head, and that he does this at a time when the people he uses as political props must be suffering enormously, makes it lower than dirt.
Dan Riehl, speaking from a rightwing perspective, is even more indignant:
For God’s sakes, are there no limits to which some won’t go to, quite frankly, pathetically attempt to score a political point? Seung-Hui Cho was insane. He could have studied nothing but The Wealth of Nations, the Constitution, the Boyscout Manual and Mary Had a Little Lamb and still he would likely have emerged as the psychotic killer he eventually became.
Attempting to construct a false logic for perceived political gain to explain away sheer madness is as contorted and dangerous as lunacy itself. There are plenty of good reasons to find fault with the Liberal philosophy that holds sway within all levels of our contemporary system of education. Seung-Hui Cho is not one of them.
Anyone attempting to invoke his name for the benefit of conservative thinking isn’t thinking much at all, let alone conservatively. Such tactics leave conservatism looking foolish and those attempting them as if they are in need of a good couch after a hefty shot of Thorazine. In fact, stopping at calling such efforts crazy may be too kind. Ultimately, they are more dangerous than even that.
Sorry, Dan, Hil, I don’t think it’s in the least difficult to draw a connection between the 23-year-old shooter’s pathological rage and accusatory rhetoric, featuring wildly-exaggerated and not particularly accurately-directed grievances, and the entire leftwing “culture of complaint” dominating the perspective of the majority of faculty at most American universities today, including Virginia Tech.
We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.
Are Cho’s irrational accusations really a completely different species of rhetoric from Giovanni’s accusatory baby elephant and Appalachian infant?
You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today. ‘But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.
You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience.
Are his economic grievances really at odds with the class warfare routinely treated as a background assumption of the conventional contemporary academic perspective?
Your Mercedes wasn’t enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren’t enough, you snobs. Your trust funds wasn’t enough. Your vodka and cognac wasn’t enough. All your debaucheries weren’t enough. Those weren’t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything.â€
Envy, narcissism, and paranoia were key factors motivating Cho’s attacks and they are also the vital ingredients in the witches’ brew of leftist ideology presiding over American Academia today.