|Great Moral Reformers of the Past|
And much of academia (especially the history-related blogosphere) is complicit. A piece by Professor Victor Davis Hanson is particularly damning and points out much of the same hypocrisy I've noted on this blog for years. Consider some of Hanson's observations:
University students across the country — at Amherst, Georgetown, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, UC Berkeley and dozens of other campuses — are caught up in yet another new fad. This time, the latest college craze is a frenzied attempt to rename campus buildings and streets. Apparently some of those names from the past do not fit students’ present litmus tests on race, class and gender correctness.And . . .
For students, politically incorrect actions in politically incorrect eras mean that otherwise generous historical figures have to be judged as bad in all aspects — at least by 21st century standards. But why the sudden nationwide renaming frenzy — and how is it any different from other campus fads?Ah, yes, but Dr. Hanson leaves out an important fact in regards to the students' "new fad." And that is the fact that academic historians are providing motivation and cover for these puritan-like absurdities. And as I've noted many times in recent months, Professor Gordon S. Wood's recent comments reveals who's really behind this latest "fad":
. . . the new generation of historians has devoted itself to isolating and recovering stories of the dispossessed: the women kept in dependence; the American Indians shorn of their lands; the black slaves brought in chains from Africa. Consequently, much of their history is fragmentary and essentially anachronistic—condemning the past for not being more like the present. It has no real interest in the pastness of the past. These historians see themselves as moral critics obligated to denounce the values of the past in order to somehow reform our present.Yes, that's right. "The new generation of historians" are enablers for this renaming and monument removing frenzy. Are we really to believe these students just decided, in a vacuum, to start this moral crusade? They're being taught by the moral reformers that their country was founded and built by evil oppressors. We're being lectured to about our nation's past sins by Church-Lady-like puritans.
But Hanson does get to the crux of all this, even if he fails to include the moral critic posing as historian crowd:
The renaming craze is not really about race, class and gender correctness at all. If it were, there would be no Warren Hall at UC Berkeley. Before liberal Earl Warren became chief justice of the Supreme Court, he was the California attorney general who instigated the wartime internment of tens of thousands of Japanese-American citizens. There also would be no Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. President Wilson was a man of dubious racial attitudes who infamously re-segregated the federal workforce.Every time you read about another monument being moved or a building being renamed, just remind yourself of academia's hypocrisy and that it's not at all about history, it's about a political agenda driven, in large part, by "the new generation of historians."
Instead, the “Animal Farm” rules of the current campus bullies go something like this: Some incorrect people from centuries ago are bad, but other politically incorrect people from the recent past are not quite so bad if they were at least sometimes liberal.
You can read all of Professor Hanson's piece titled, "The Hypocrisy Behind the Student Renaming Craze" here.