Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The closing of the American student's mind

In Texas schools the Holocaust (the one where the Nazis killed six million Jews because they were Jews), is a prominent part of the history curriculum. Field trips by classes from rural school districts to the Dallas Holocaust museum, for a prearranged educational orientation, are routine. I know that school districts in other states have a similar focus.
Meanwhile, at the college level, and in the school districts of the bi-coastal 'liberal' elites the opposite is occurring. Ludicrous efforts are being made to homogenize and destigmatize the Jewish holocaust. In fact, the attempt to remember and underline the distinctive horror of the Holocaust, and its consequences in Jewish history and the history of the world, and, particularly, in Israeli history, is being stigmatized. Antisemites and their useful intellectual left-wing idiots are trying to use the holocaust as a weapon against the legitimacy of Israel. The victims and survivors of the Holocaust cannot be allowed their victimhood if Israel is to be painted as the oppressor. It just won't do.
Don't get me wrong. For a long time I have bemoaned the "commercialization" of the Holocaust. I have criticized the manufacturing of antisemitic events and the exploitation of Holocaust tours and such. I see a danger of reducing the evil to a banality. But, now, this concern pales in comparison to the one described above.
Also, to be sure, the distinctiveness of the Holocaust does not imply its uniqueness. In terms of efficient extermination Stalin and Mao were much more efficient than Hitler, yet Hitler gets star billing. We ought to note more the palpable evils committed by communism. It ought to be given much more prominence in our teaching of history to young people.
What was distinct about the Jewish Holocaust was 1. the extermination of one-third of the entire Jewish people 2. for NO OTHER REASON than the fact that they were Jewish. There was no underlying economic motive to explain it - the rush to speed up the work of the gas chambers in the final days of WWII detracted from the Nazi war effort. It was not a terrible accident of bureaucracy. It was not a political strategy to consolidate power. It was instead the insane pursuit of a satanic obsession.And that, in itself, carries important lessons.
The truth is that neither this nor the genocides of the Soviet Union or China is being properly covered in our teaching of 20th century history. As a result we have the specter of ignorant monsters attending our most prestigious universities.
Comment by Will Ricciardella :

I've seen what you describe first hand in my political science classes. 

Israel is the real evil in Middle East, and the campus as a whole favors Palestinian groups over campus Jewish organizations.

This is little more than leftist postmodern relativism that feeds their twisted narratives of racism, capitalism and the evil of western cultures.

Jew-hatred on campus is part of a general malaise infecting the American academy

Read this article. It will make you feel uncomfortable, but you need to read it.

It is a graphic description of the sort of thing that is going on on campuses across the U.S.
I first noticed this about ten years ago. I experienced events at the University of Binghamton and at SFSU. Northern California schools are particularly bad, but it is everywhere. I don't think people realize how bad it is.
This almost incredible un-self-conscious anti-Jewish bigotry emanates from the very same people who bemoan the persistence of anti-black racism as evidenced, for example, in the police forces around the country, notably including Oakland CA. It begs a host of interesting and uncomfortable questions. The same visceral reactions that these people attack in others reside deeply within their own psyches. Only the targets are different. There are good targets and there are bad targets. It's ok to target Jews because they are beneficiaries of white privilege and use it to oppress Palestinians. It is not ok to attack blacks because they are bona fide victims.
And this closed-minded embrace of stereo-types is protected by the conviction that you should not listen to people with whom you disagree if they make you feel uncomfortable - that very fact suggesting that they are immoral. So any attempt to counter the horribly distorted impression that they have of Israel and of Jewish history is easily deflected and buried.

Seen in this light, campus anti-Semitism is not an isolated aberration. It is the very litmus test of a dangerous and disturbing closing of the American student's mind.