How to destroy civilization: Thanks to tenured radicals, we are witnessing the retribalization of the world

How to destroy civilization: Thanks to tenured radicals, we are witnessing the retribalization of the world, by Roger Kimball.

The moral is: ideas matter.

For decades now, our colleges and universities (and increasingly our grades schools) have been preaching a gospel of cultural self-hatred. America, according to this gospel, is evil. The country is inextricably racist and beholden to an irredeemably exploitative economic system. The latest retelling of this creation myth is the Pulitzer-Prize-winning ‘1619 Project’ whose fundamental message is that America was started as a ‘slavocracy.’ According to this malignant fantasy, the Revolutionary War was fought primarily ‘to protect the institution of slavery.’ At last count, elements of this disgusting bit of historical revisionism were being adopted in the curricula of some 4,000 school districts. …

One contingent is made up of ordinary or garden variety hooligans, young men and women (mostly men) who are out to loot and smash up whatever they can.

More dangerous is the other contingent, the ‘intellectuals’ — pajama-boy, Soros-subsidized thugs who have been taught to hate their country and now have a chance to express that hatred unfettered by civic order. ‘After the Vietnam War,’ wrote one academic radical, ‘a lot of us didn’t just crawl back into our literary cubicles; we stepped into academic positions. With the war over, our visibility was lost, and it seemed for a while — to the unobservant — that we had disappeared. Now we have tenure, and the work of reshaping the universities has begun in earnest.’ …

It wasn’t long ago that we were assured that the ‘end of history’ was nigh: that a Western-style liberalism was on the verge of establishing itself the world over and that peace and amity were breaking out everywhere. But instead of that attractive version of the end of history, we are now witnessing something like the retribalization of the world: a violent turn against Western liberalism and its tradition of rationality, respect for individual rights, and recognition of a common good that transcends the accidents of ethnic and racial identity. Given this situation, it is all the more imperative that we educate our students in the Western tradition, that we teach them about the virtues of our society and its democratic institutions. Such education is the staunchest bulwark against the forces of disintegration we are facing.

The multiculturalists rant on about the repressive, inequitable nature of US society. Antifa and their allies do their best to bring it about. The spectacle of violence on the streets and unbearable posturing by the media and our elites — we’re all racists; we’re all guilty! — reminds us that the real choice facing us today is not between a ‘repressive’ Western culture and a multicultural paradise, but between culture and barbarism.

Civilization is not a gift; it is an achievement — a fragile achievement that needs constantly to be shored up and defended from besiegers inside and out. These are facts that do not easily penetrate the cozy and coddled purlieus of the academy, to say nothing of the guttural ravings of the mob. But they are part of the permanent challenge that any civilization must face.

Anyone remember the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamlyn? The education of our young by the radicals of 1968 has been a disaster.