Sunday, March 6, 2016

Purple Bruises: Mob Rule at Williams College

As one of the last conservatives to have ever taught at Williams College, I feel vindicated in reporting that this once prestigious school has now devolved into a form of mob rule. Based on the aggressive language used to intimidate students like Zach Wood, it looks to me like the college is now dominated by hard leftists who have more in common with Joseph Stalin than with FDR. Under this radical, threatening regime, we have seen a stunning failure to provide adequate security for anti-feminist speaker Susan Venker, the outright censorship of race realist John Derbyshire, and the inexplicable tolerance of anti-Semitic hate speech from Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi.

Trust me. I understand mob rule and the role of censorship. I’m a former Communist myself. I’m also well informed about the continuing dysfunction and lack of intellectual diversity at Williams College.  As you may know, I was among the first young, white, professors at Williams College to pay a high price for for teaching politically incorrect ideas including how black poverty and inequality would be more efficiently resolved with the improved use of inexpensive condoms than with the wholesale adoption of a socialist economy. Then, as now, my ideas caused howls of indignation and immediate accusations of racism among supposedly liberal folks who --  by tradition, at least -- should have been more concerned about protecting my freedom of speech. As James Lewis writes at American Thinker:

We can never forget that U.S. ‘liberals” of this generation are not liberals at all; they have fallen back into ruthless Leftism, just like the old days of Joe Stalin. This is the Left that threw Lawrence Summers out as president of Harvard for wondering out loud whether some boys are just better in math than girls. This is the Left that keeps imposing ever-harsher speech and behavior codes on college students, with white guys as the official scapegoats. This Left manipulates universities by mob threats. This is the Left that tried to physically attack General David Petraeus at NYU, so he had to run for it. This is the Left that deliberately stirs up race hatred, as in Ferguson and Baltimore. This is the Left that has made common cause with primitive jihadist regimes in Europe and the U.S.

As one of only three Republicans teaching at Williams College in the 1980s, I was quickly marginalized for suggesting that white attitudes and U.S. capitalism inadequately explained why violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there. It strikes me as nothing less than ideological blindness to insist that such extraordinary violence is the unfortunate result of peaceful white folks living ordinary lives in our nation’s rural and suburban areas.

In this context, I’m shocked by the sheer ignorance of Williams College’s president, Adam Falk. I don’t think there is a serious person who has studied John Derbyshire who would classify him as either idiotic, a lunatic, or a white supremacist. In my view, Falk’s flippant, juvenile comments are uninformed, and display a profound level of misunderstanding about race realism, political culture studies and alt-right philosophy.

The simplest explanation for his mistreatment of John Derbyshire is that this is the sort of mistake that happens when physicists get involved in political and biological matters for which they have no training or relevant experience. While most faculty members are experts in our own fields, we tend to be hapless amateurs everywhere else.

There is, however, a more complex explanation that goes to the heart at why mob rule is the order of the day at Williams College. If there were more diversity of opinion, and freedom of thought, at Williams College, then someone could have informed Falk that censoring John Derbyshire was a big mistake and a setback for Williams College.

The reason there is no intellectual diversity at Williams College is because conservative, Republican thinkers have long since been pushed out of the full-time faculty.  I should know. While I taught at Williams College, it was said that conservative students were passive and not very active. It was suggested that there was not much interest in conservative thought on the campus. Certainly not enough interest in conservative thought to spend time worrying about the intellectual diversity of the faculty in the political science department.

Nevertheless, in less than a year, the campus saw a veritable renaissance of conservative activities and thought as conservative students – with my support and active encouragement – established a conservative newspaper, a conservative radio show, and a conservative television show on the local cable access channel. We had qualified speakers at the Garfield Republican Club. The conservative students rallied around my office, which I decorated with a large American flag. We went out of our way to tick off the liberal/Communist professors by loudly greeting each other with hearty cries of “Merry Christmas.” Ironically, an independent study conducted of the political science department recommended changes be made to address the department’s lack of ideological diversity.

As far as I can tell, I am the last registered Republican to have ever taught in the political science department at Williams College. I am certainly the last to have ever espoused consistently conservative views from a sincere, heartfelt perspective. I am also, apparently, the first and only assistant professor who was denied the opportunity to continue along the tenure track pathway.

This itself is quite odd, since, in the 1980s, I was one of our nation’s top young scholars. Hired at Williams in 1986, I went on to win national recognition for my doctoral dissertation from the American Political Science Association (APSA). I completed my dissertation during my first year teaching at Williams College. The quality of this work was so great that it has now been published, in book form, almost exactly as I wrote it under the low-ceiling of my tiny, unheated office in Stetson Hall. My thesis was by published by Praeger, the extraordinary house that also published Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Apparently, the study, which documented a lack of ideological diversity at Williams College, has had little impact then or since.

Even as the nation has drifted in a conservative direction -- overwhelmingly electing conservatives to statehouses, governorships and Congress -- Williams College has held tight to teaching a narrow band of truth and lies. It clings to an unrealistic and unsustainable hard left faith that intentions are more important than reality. Accordingly, it will be a long time until we see an end to mirco-aggression monitors who eagerly to hunt down the unwitting first-year student who is stupid enough to tell a joke, have some fun, or say something devastatingly obvious. We are in a dangerous time. The hard left mob feels justified in every possible abuse while truth remains as vulnerable as any freezing bunkmate of Ivan Denisovich.

This article was first published at williamsalternative.com on March 6, 2016. It appears here with the permission of that website’s owner.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

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