WASHINGTON, March 22, 2016-In the last century, 120 million souls, guilty only of the ability to think, write and speak critically, were murdered by their governments. But most regimes do not kill people who threaten their power and legitimacy, and it is hard to imagine that the U.S., a constitutional republic protective of speech, life and liberty, turning on its own people.
Yet over 20 years, a witch’s brew of feminism, cultural Marxism and Islamophilia has inspired university students to declare war on conservatism, Judaeo-Christian values and the Constitution. Campus radicals, in arrogating to themselves the power to determine what can and cannot be said, thought, written, or read, have initiated the following terrible sequence implemented by the aforementioned mass murdering regimes.
First, the state arrests dissident authors for “printing lies” or “attacking national security.” Britain branded Thomas Paine a traitor for inciting Jacobinism with “The Rights of Man.” The Soviets packed Alexander Solzhenitsyn and other writers in gulags for exposing the monstrosity of communism. Burma, Iran, and China jail dissident Nobel laureates today.
Next, the state, fearing the power of ideas, bans books like Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata,” Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and “1984,” Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses,” and the catalogs of Kant, Voltaire, Locke, Grotius, Pascal, Hume, and Rousseau.
When book bans fail, the tyrannical regime turns to flames. Contrary to an oft-quoted line in Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita”—a once-banned book—manuscripts do burn, and they have illuminated evil alleys through history.
Chinese emperors burned manuscripts hostile to dynastic pretensions. The Roman Emperor Constantine burned books by Arian, denier of the Trinity. The medieval Church burned Jewish manuscripts to “defend” Christ’s divinity. Spanish conquistadors burned Mayan books as “lies of the devil.” Nazis burned everything anti-Nazi. And Serbia torched the Bosnian National Library to quash Bosnian nationalism.
Yet public murder of authors, orchestrated pour encourager les autres, is the best way to prevent dangerous ideas from rising like phoenixes from the ashes of pages that expressed them.
And so, Chinese emperors suffocated dissident scholars. Athens executed Socrates for encouraging critical thought. The Church burned heretics. Beria starved dissidents in the Gulag Archipelago to immunize Stalinism. Red Guards butchered any who might “obstruct” Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
Yet the Nazi era best illustrates the frightful progression from authorial persecution to book burnings and mass murder.
On taking power, Hitler purged universities, churches, media and government of those who would not pledge loyalty to the Nazi Party. Pro-Nazi students converted universities into Nazi indoctrination centers and led torch-lit parades of party officials, professors and administrators, culminating in ritual burnings of millions of banned books on giant pyres.
By 1945, millions of German dissidents, Jews and other innocents had gone up smokestacks in Nazi death camps. If the butcher’s bill wasn’t entirely run up by student biblioclasts—hundreds of thousands of whom died fighting Nazi wars of aggression—it is fair to ask whether, had they not so vigorously validated Nazism, the wicked regime could have consolidated its grip on the German state and people and militarized its genocidal ideology. Nazi students did not just champion a regime predestined to graduate from persecuting authors to burning people. They bore arms to ensure that it did.
History repeats. Today, aligned with tenured Marxists and anti-Semites, an American student gestapo marches down the same path, banishing Shakespeare, Einstein and other dead white males from curricula, glorifying women’s, ethnic and gender studies, and branding the U.S. more dangerous than ISIS for waging an illegal colonial war against Islam.
Student mobs shout obscenities at visiting conservative speakers and attack attendees while police sit inert at the behest of administrative eunuchs. Students suffering “traumatic” exposure to conservatism receive counseling. “Geo-fencing” technologies block social media users from “microaggressing” against women or minorities. And failing grades punish violations of speech codes prohibiting words like “retarded,” “gay,” and “illegal alien” while requiring “gender-neutral pronouns” like “ze, xe, xem, xyr, and zirs.”
Plato, Isaac Newton and Adam Smith would have no prayer of securing a professorial slot, let alone tenure. Yet Black Lives Matter activists and Weather Underground and Black Panther terrorists are recruited, hired and tenured at Yale, Northwestern and UC Davis.
Persecution of the few remaining faculty conservatives is blood sport. Black and American Indian faculty conservatives are labeled “house Negroes” and “Clarence Tomahawks” for escaping the mental plantations and reservations where leftists would confine them. “Thought criminals” who oppose abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action, Communism, or radical Islam are denied promotion and tenure, banned from campus, and fired.
At Cornell with a shredder, at Syracuse via scissors and manually at Yale, officials destroy the Constitution for “triggered” students. Libraries exclude conservative authors. Faculty scrub conservative scholars from syllabi. And if a conservative submission slips past editorial gatekeepers at academic presses, the work is “retracted,” a.k.a. “cyberburned.”
A medical journal cyberburned an article by authors who, marveling at the design of the human hand, offended academic atheists by invoking a “Creator.” And the craven 2016 editorial board of the George Mason University National Security Law Journal cyberburned this author’s 2015 article, “Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column,” to propitiate outraged law professors cited for hamstringing U.S. military effectiveness and eroding U.S. political will to fight radical Islam.
The ultimate sanction—burning heretical authors—proceeds apace. Yet the stake, camp and gulag have yielded to Alinskyite methods targeting reputations rather than bodies. Cybercockroaches spin and recycle lies on websites, blogs, and conservative professors’ Wikipedia pages to trash their credibility and draw death threats. Intellectual heretics are excommunicated not just from academia but future employment.
Dr. Vladimir Brovkin, a renowned Soviet history professor, was denied tenure by Harvard and blacklisted in academia for being “too anti-communist.” He now teaches high school.
Nobel Laureate Sir Tim Hunt, advocate for women in science, was ousted from his professorship for “misogyny” and exiled to Japan when a feminist journalist twisted his self-deprecating remarks on Twitter. The ordeal left him contemplating suicide.
Robert Steinbuch, a University of Arkansas law professor, faces termination for examining whether affirmative action hurts the careers of intended beneficiaries.
This American Indian author’s public support of the Iraq War and skepticism over John Kerry’s account of how he earned his Silver Star led Indiana University colleagues to table his tenure application. A university-aligned reporter, relying on a single source with many undisclosed conflicts of interest but no evidence whatsoever, was conscripted to falsely claim this author had embellished his military service, torpedoing a civil rights lawsuit. The malicious lie was investigated and debunked by all the author’s subsequent employers—the U.S. Army, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Defense University and the U.S. Military Academy, whose superintendent on down the chain-of-command pronounced the smear “total bullshit.”
Yet a decade later, when President Obama fired him from West Point for his cyberburned article and research regarding a military coup, leftist journalists colluding with the White House to mask the political basis for the firing recycled the debunked smear and added a new one—falsely claiming, despite proof to the contrary, that the author had not been an associate professor at the National Defense University. Within minutes a cybermob plastered the author’s Wikipedia page with the smears to cyberburn him alive.
Although conservatives have avoided mass murder, they are persecuted in and exiled from academia. U.S. universities, no longer marketplaces of ideas, are a weird admixture of Komsomols, jihadi training camps, collective pot farms, and day cares. Ironically, indoctrinated graduates enter a Marxist political economy under radical Islamist attack with futures as grim as the conservative professors they cyberburn into obscurity.
But just as history reveals awful parallels between the present academic terror and Nazi student biblioclasm, so too does it suggest a solution.
Four hundred years ago this week, the Vatican banned Nicolas Copernicus’ “On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres,” condemning his heliocentric theory as prejudicial to “Catholic truth.” Sixteen years earlier, the Catholic Church had burnt Professor Giordano Bruno for teaching Copernicanism. Thus it took courage for Galileo to prove Copernicus and Bruno right in 1633 with his “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.”
Outraged Inquisitors listed all Galileo’s books on the “Index Librorum Prohibitorum,” ordered him to “abjure, curse, and detest” heliocentrism and placed him under house arrest for quasi-heresy. Fearing the flames, yet defiant still, Galileo muttered, “And yet it moves.”
Not until 1992 did the Church admit that the earth orbits the sun.
The traditional university model is crumbling. From its ashes will arise new modes and sites of teaching and learning. Conservative professors will be proven right.
Until then, courage, tenacity and faith in divine justice must suffice. And if they refuse to be intimidated, and go where truth and G-d direct, then their cyberburnings will prove no more effective than Galileo’s house imprisonment, Solzhenitsyn’s exile or Bruno’s burning.
To be safe, though, let’s keep and bear arms. Regimes that burn books often wind up burning people.