The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The High Price of Forgetting

Posted on | November 11, 2023 | 3 Comments

“The dullards and malcontents among us are always anxious to acquire by coercion and bullying what they cannot gain by merit. Because of this, their simple-minded doctrine is attractive for a certain type of disaffected bureaucrat.”
Stanley K. Ridgley

When I was young (says the Baby Boomer, because you callow punks don’t know this stuff) everybody knew Communism was bad. And when I say “everybody,” I mean everybody I knew growing up, as opposed to some freaky radicals in Berkeley or wherever. Stopping the spread of Communism was the primary focus of America’s national policy for at least 10 years before I was born, going back to when Winston Churchill gave his famous “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri. The evil of Communism was so widely recognized that it was usually taken for granted and, in hindsight, this was a mistake. I was never taught anything in school (or college) about the ideology of Communism. There was no critical analysis of the writings of Marx and Engels and Lenin and Trotsky. Nor, for that matter, did we learn anything about the Bolshevik Revolution, the failed Communist revolution attempt in Germany, the short-lived Communist regime in Hungary, etc. Keep in mind that, until I was 14 years old, our troops were fighting Communists in Vietnam. So why weren’t our teachers tasked to explain to us exactly what it was we were fighting? The closest thing we got to it was in fifth grade, when our English teacher, Tom Dowd, read Animal Farm aloud to us, over the course of a couple of weeks, explaining it as a parable of the Russian revolution: “Some animals are more equal than others.”

It was not until I was in my 30s — after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union — that I began studying the history of Communism on my own and, as I’ve often said, I’ve read more Marx than most Marxists. I’ve also read Lenin and Trotsky, for that matter, and everything I’ve learned in this autodidactic education has only reinforced what everybody knew when I was a kid: Communism is bad.

All of this is by way of introduction to Stanley K. Ridgley, a business professor at Drexel University and author of Brutal Minds: The Dark World of Left-Wing Brainwashing in Our Universities. (Hint: Amazon pays me a small commission when you purchase products through my affiliate links, because capitalism!) From the book description:

Much of university life is controlled by subsidized paranoiacs, amateur psychotherapists, neo-Marxist totalitarians, “student affairs professionals” imbued with authoritarian mentality, and racialist thought reformers who run workshops that destroy family ties and traditional beliefs to clear the way for new relationships grounded in racialist ideology. These are the brutal minds who threaten and abuse students in the name of an academic fraud called “antiracist pedagogy.” . . .
An educational charade masks activities and ideology as dangerous as those that inspired Communist China’s tragic Cultural Revolution. This book strips away the façade of the modern American university to reveal the malignant bureaucratic viscera inside the institution. It is a dark world, an anti-intellectualist sanctuary where brutal minds find purpose, protection, camaraderie, subsidy, and power.

This sounds intriguing, but the reference to the Cultural Revolution in China will have zero resonance in the minds of most Americans, who know little or nothing about the history of Communist regimes in power. The only totalitarian regime that most Americans do know about is Nazi Germany, but their knowledge even of that is superficial, and the main lesson they take from the Third Reich is as simple as, “Hate is bad.”

Professor Ridgley writes about the parallels between Nazi Germany and the 21st-century “antiracist” education regime:

In the Third Reich, anti-Semitism infected every aspect of German society, even the domain of science. This was most memorable in the anti-Semitism that corrupted the discipline of physics. In accord with the Nazi authorities, the work of Jewish scientists was delegitimized by declaration. The Nazis dismissed the theories of Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr as “Jewish Physics,” “Jewish Science,” “Jewish World-Bluff,” and the product of “Jewish Spirit.” Something called Aryan Physics was erected as the authentic alternative.
The major characteristic of such a primitive patois is that it attracts and works for only two types of people—those stupid enough to actually believe it (the storm-trooper class) and those who don’t believe it but see it as a useful tool to achieve their vision (vanguard puppeteers). . . .

You can read the whole thing (hat-tip: Robert Shibley at Instapundit).

What the Nazis did in demonizing “Jewish Science” was mirrored by the Soviets using “bourgeois” or “capitalist” as an epithet to demonize anything they opposed, whereas the bogus “science” of Lysenkoism was promoted as truth because it was seen as compatible with Stalinist ideology. Ridgeway’s point is that very similar coercive methods are being used to impose equally dubious beliefs about “white privilege,” “systemic racism,” etc., which conform to the Left’s radical ideology.

Certainly, it is not a coincidence that the Left is now supporting protests (or rather pogroms) to terrorize Jewish students on university campuses.




3 Responses to “The High Price of Forgetting”

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