Rod Dreher notes that, within many of our most elite institutions, like Yale, the fanatical revolutionary Left has already won.
Last year, I spoke to a Soviet-born scholar who teaches in an American public university. Iâ€™m using a quote from our discussion in my forthcoming (September) book, Live Not By Lies. This morning, she sent me this e-mail, which I reproduce here with her permission:
I know from your blog that the work on your new book is going well and Iâ€™m glad because, boy, itâ€™s so needed. Iâ€™m observing some disturbing developments on my campus, and we are really not one of those wokester schools for spoiled brats one normally associates with this kind of thing.
This academic year Iâ€™ve had an opportunity to work with some early-career academics. These are newly-minted PhDs that are in their first year on the tenure-track. Whatâ€™s really scary is that they sincerely believe all the woke dogma. Older people â€“ those in their forties, fifties or sixties â€“ might parrot the woke mantras because itâ€™s what everybody in academia does and you have to survive. But the younger generation actually believes it all. Transwomen are women, black students fail calculus because there are no calc profs who â€œlook like them,â€ â€˜whitenessâ€™ is the most oppressive thing in the world, the US is the most evil country in history, anybody who votes Republican is a racist, everybody who goes to church is a bigot but the hijab is deeply liberating. I gently mocked some of this stuff (like we normally do among older academics), and two of the younger academics in the group I supervise actually cried. Because they believe all this so deeply, and Iâ€™d even say fanatically, that they couldnâ€™t comprehend why I wasnâ€™t taking it seriously.
The fanatical glimmer in their eyes really scared me.
Back in the USSR in the 1970s and the 1980s nobody believed the dogma. People repeated the ideological mantras for cynical reasons, to get advanced in their careers or get food packages. Many did it to protect their kids. But nobody sincerely believed. That is what ultimately saved us. As soon as the regime weakened a bit, it was doomed because there were no sincere believers any more. Everybody who did take the dogma seriously belonged to the generation of my great-grandparents.
In the US, though, the generation of the fanatical believers is only now growing up and coming into its prime. Weâ€™ll have to wait until their grandkids grow up to see a generation that will be so fed up with the dogma that it will embrace freedom of thought and expression. But thatâ€™s a long way away in the future.
Iâ€™m mentoring a group of young scholars in the Humanities to help them do research, and Iâ€™m starting to hate this task. Young scholars almost without exception think that scholarship is entirely about repeating woke slogans completely uncritically. Again, this is different from the USSR where scholars peppered their writing with the slogans but always took great pride in trying to sneak in some real thinking and real analysis behind the required ideological drivel. Every Soviet scholar starting from the 1970s was a dissident at heart because everybody knew that the ideology was rotten.
All of this is sad and very scary. I never thought Iâ€™d experience anything worse, anything more intellectually stifling than the USSR of its last two decades of existence. But now I do see something worse.
The book you are writing is very important, and I hope that many people hear your message.
Folks, Americans are extremely naive about whatâ€™s coming. We just cannot imagine that people who burst into tears in the face of gentle mockery of their political beliefs can ever come to power. They are already in power, in the sense that they have mesmerized leaders of American institutions. Iâ€™m telling you, that 2015 showdown on Yaleâ€™s campus between Prof. Nicholas Christakis and the shrieking students was profoundly symbolic. Christakis used the techniques of discursive reason to try to establish contact with these young people. None of it mattered. They yelled and cursed and sobbed. The fact that he disagreed with them, they took as an assault on their person.
And Yale University caved to them!