Friday, May 16, 2008

The First Time as Tantrum, the Second Time as a Fairy Tale

Rich Lowry recounts the twice-thousand told tale of 1968. I had the dishonor of hosting one of the miscreants, a fellow named Mark Rudd, back in 1969 in my apartment in Ann Arbor, where he smoked all my ganga while dropping nuggets like "No fault on the left," and "Dare to cheat, Dare to win." Later, I went to Cornell at the invitation of Chip Marshall to organize for SDS & was there for two weeks before I realized that these dudes were total cons whose reason for inviting me was to get possession of my VW microbus. They wanted me to work in a factory in Syracuse while they cavorted around the state of New York. But I digress.
The Columbia protests were led by Mark Rudd, whose idea of a bon mot was "Up against the wall, motherf-----!" From Columbia's relationship to a Pentagon-affiliated think tank and its plan to build a gym on a city park, Rudd's compatriots concluded that the school was irredeemably militaristic and racist. They occupied university buildings and took a dean hostage before being cleared out (none too gently) by the cops.

Elsewhere, university officials gave in to their tormenters, most notoriously at Cornell a year later. When black students occupied a university building - ostentatiously arming themselves - and demanded that disciplinary action against three black students be dropped, the faculty initially stood its ground. When the students escalated their threats, the faculty reversed itself in a signal act of cowardice.

The parents against which the students rebelled - as represented by the college administrations - buckled. College presidents who were the finest flowering of post-World War II liberalism gave in to the radicalism, politicizing American higher education and trashing its standards. "The maturation of the student protest movement turned out to be part of the infantilization of the American intelligentsia," Kimball writes.

The freedoms fought for in the student revolt soon curdled into the opposite: free speech became speech codes; sexual liberation became the regime of sexual harassment; civil rights became quotas. Meanwhile, Mark Rudd and a fringe of the New Left spun off into the Weather Underground, which took the destructive spirit of the campus protests to its logical conclusion in a campaign of terrorist bombings. Jonah Goldberg reminds us in his book "Liberal Fascism" that the radical left committed roughly 250 attacks from September 1969 to May 1970.

The victims of academicide pile up year after year and matriculate bearing delusions indoctinated into their uncritical minds by spurious purveyors of academentia. But after the mayhem not reported by the compliant leftist electronic and print media, there was and remains a happy ending:
If the academics gave in, another segment of the parents resisted. They were the Nixon voters, reacting against the disorder and cultural radicalism with which liberalism became identified. Republicans held the White House for 28 of the next 40 years, and the alternative history of the 1960s is the rise of the right. Even now, with Barack Obama dogged by his association with former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers, the Democratic Party's challenge is to free itself from the taint of 1968.

And while I dabbled in SDS, I also met Ayers and his beautiful consort Diana Oughton, who shortly thereafter immolated herself in a Greenwich Village basement making a bomb to attack Fort Dix across the Hudson. He was a dork-wad, she didn't deserve a wretch like him who now prospers purveying academicide nostrums to unsuspecting victims at UofIllinois Chicago. My friend Rashid Khalidi got me an Academic Associate Card at the University of Chicago, a respectable institution. But whether they are genuine humanists like Rashid or loathsome loo-zer parasites like Ayers, the left remains slouching toward Bethlehem.

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