The Leftist Roots of Campus Rage
A recent 2017 issue of The Wall Street Journal ran an interview article featuring New York University professor Dr. Jonathan Haidt by Bari Weiss. The article is titled “The Cultural Roots of Campus Rage,” and in it, Dr. Haidt shares his insights into what’s happening on many a college campus across the nation. An unorthodox professor explains the ‘new religion’ that drives the intolerance and violence at places like Middlebury and Berkeley.
Dr. Haidt, a psychologist and professor of ethical leadership, along with Jordan Peterson at the University of Toronto, have become inspirations to writers like Scott Allen, who share with us the Left's new religion of progressivism, and his analysis of its very disturbing cultural trends is a chapter of focus in The SAPIENT Being.
“What I think is happening,” Dr. Haidt says, is that “as the visible absurdity on campus mounts and mounts, and as public opinion turns more strongly against universities—and especially as the line of violence is crossed—we are having more and more people standing up saying, ‘Enough is enough. I’m opposed to this.’ ” I too have been outraged and this reaction describes my inspiration for the SAPIENT Being movement on campus.
In introducing the leftist roots of campus rage, the fundamentalists may be few, Haidt says, but they are “very intimidating” since they wield the threat of public shame. On some campuses, “they’ve been given the heckler’s veto, and are often granted it by an administration who won’t stand up to them either.”
The Berkeley episode illustrates the Orwellian aspect of campus orthodoxy. A scheduled February 2017 appearance by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos prompted masked agitators to throw Molotov cocktails, smash windows, hurl rocks at police, and ultimately cause $100,000 worth of damage. The student newspaper ran an op-ed justifying the rioting under the headline “Violence helped ensure safety of students.” Read that twice!
You cannot make a more un-sapient statement than that one—but read on—and you’ll see more!
The Left Has Undergone an Ideological Transformation
Dr. Jonathan Haidt has observed: In the recent past, important social matters were settled though free and open discussion and debate using logic and reason. Our American civil order is predicated on this. It works well when those engaged share a conviction that universal truth exists—regardless of one’s beliefs, feelings, and opinions.
For today’s campus radicals, feelings have largely replaced logic and reason. A generation ago, social justice was understood as equality of treatment and opportunity. Per Dr. Haidt, “… If black people are getting discriminated against in hiring and you fight that, that’s justice.”
Today justice means equal outcomes. “There are two ideas now in the academic left that weren’t there 10 years ago,” Dr. Haidt says. “One is that everyone is racist because of unconscious bias, and the other is that everything is racist because of systemic racism.” That makes justice impossible to achieve: “When you cross that line into insisting if there’s not equal outcomes then some people and some institutions and some systems are racist, sexist, then you’re setting yourself up for eternal conflict and injustice.”
Dr. Haidt is right. If the goal of this new social justice is equality of outcome, you are setting yourself up for eternal conflict, injustice, and ultimately social disintegration.
Equal outcomes can only be achieved through the tyrannical imposition of power and coercion, with a resulting loss of individual freedom. It results in human beings being objectified, manipulated, and otherwise treated unjustly.
Where it has been attempted—in places like Maoist China and the Soviet Union—the outcomes were utterly destructive. Millions were imprisoned and murdered. Millions more lost their families, livelihoods, and freedoms. These are the facts!