April 13, 2004

“The People” vs. People We,

“The People” vs. People

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have been paying plenty of attention to the sundry brouhahas sprouting on college campuses nation-wide in response to the so-called “intellectual diversity” movement. As anyone who has spent a few short seconds on an American college campus knows, “diversity” is a word of talismanic power to manifold academics and administrators. Nary a moment goes by when some Dean of Diversity isn’t waxing diverse on the cardinal virtues of “diversity.”

It seems, however, that our professors and administrators mean something very specific by the term “diversity”: A whole array of students and faculty members of various skin-tones, all of whom tout the same left-wing shibboleths on political issues. Colleges want to promote black Naderites, Latino Naderites, white Naderites, Native-American Naderites, et al. You get the picture. If the “diversity” apparatchiks could ever get their hands on the work of Matthew Arnold, they would reshape his famous quotation on the goal of Liberal Arts education to read: “The best that has been thought and said by a sufficiently diverse array of underrepresented minorities, all of whom have the same ideological blinkers.” Never mind sweetness and light; pass the Afrocentric essays and radical feminist poetry, please!

Naturally, the academic Left is loath to inform students’ parents that this is what they have in mind by the word “diversity.” After all, $30,000 a year for the educational equivalent of a Howard Dean rally doesn’t exactly seem worth the price of admission, now does it? As such, the academic Left esteems the very vagueness of the word “diversity”; much as is the case with the euphemistic phrase “Affirmative Action,” the less concrete the appellation, the better.

Accordingly, the powers-that-be in American higher education don’t much care for the “intellectual diversity” movement, which promotes tolerance for all points of view on college campuses. University administrators enjoy a requisite number of dark faces at their schools to help assuage their fears of being closet racists, but they obviously don’t want anyone to think for himself. Why, all heck might break loose!

Naturally, the academic Left has allies in its intrepid fight against intellectual openness and tolerance. One such ally, dear reader, is The Independent Weekly. The Independent, a Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill based rag, is a freebee publication that presents its readers with various ‘phone sex advertisements, rock-concert listings, and cartoons. And it even offers the occasional article.

Like most broadsheets of this type, The Independent's politics is just slightly to the Left of Pol Pot: Sure, Mao made some mistakes, but they pale in comparison to those of the evil corporate hegemons who rule the USA. If it weren’t for capitalism, this country might finally blah, blah, blah.

Given its political tilt, it is not surprising that The Independent's March 31-April 6, 2004 number contained a shoddy article penned by a fifth-rate hack named Barbara Solow. In said piece, the indefatigable Ms. Solow went to extraordinary lengths to misconstrue the “intellectual diversity” movement as a vicious reactionary plot to destroy all that is right (that is, left) in the world. She somehow casts the rag-tag bunch of Duke students who dislike their classes degenerating into Democratic Party brainstorms as a well-funded hate-machine. Ah, yes: The students have a few hundred dollars from the student council, and Duke University has…six squillion dollars? Sounds like dear ole’ Duke is outgunned to us.

Our favorite part of Ms. Solow’s hackwork, however, was surely the quotation she included by one Catherine Lutz, a former professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Queried about the supporters of intellectual diversity on campus, Ms. Lutz opined:

“What they’re trying to do is take back the last institution in this country that doesn’t have a complete right-wing agenda because it’s founded on the notion of free inquiry, knowledge and research—and has protections in place for those reasons.”

We at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” don’t know whether to laugh or cry: Academia is the only place in the entire United States of America that isn’t militantly reactionary? Oh, dear!

We can imagine Ms. Lutz making a mental check-list of various American institutions: The Brookings Institute, the ACLU, Taco Bell, the Beacon Press, "The Muppet Show," CNN—you know, that right-wing stuff.

Instead of persuading the reader that the American academy is the lone fortress against the machinations of the Evil Forces of the Right, Ms. Lutz appears to demonstrate that she has never set foot on non-academic soil. How else could one come to such a jejune conclusion?

But what particularly strikes us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” about Ms. Lutz’s comments is the supreme disdain they show for the average American. To her, college professors are the enlightened few, feverishly attempting to show the troglodytic American public the collective error of its ways. This seems an odd perspective for someone so far on the political Left. Why does it appear that such types love “The People,” but hate people? As we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are mere journalists, we guess we’ll never know.

Posted at April 13, 2004 12:10 AM | TrackBack