Saving intellectuals from the red guards; it’s a mitzvah

The Left is cannibalizing its own again. Unless you’re under a rock you have probably heard about what’s happened to Bret Weinstein. The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next:

I was not expecting to hold my biology class in a public park last week. But then the chief of our college police department told me she could not protect me on campus. Protestors were searching cars for an unspecified individual—likely me—and her officers had been told to stand down, against her judgment, by the college president.

Racially charged, anarchic protests have engulfed Evergreen State College, a small, public liberal-arts institution where I have taught since 2003. In a widely disseminated video of the first recent protest on May 23, an angry mob of about 50 students disrupted my class, called me a racist, and demanded that I resign. My “racist” offense? I had challenged coercive segregation by race. Specifically, I had objected to a planned “Day of Absence” in which white people were asked to leave campus on April 12.

I am not too concerned about the details of what is happening in Olympia. Bret Weinstein is evincing surprise at the insanity of it all, but then he is a self-described progressive who assumes that the the Left is reasonable, and in some way on the “right side of history.” Weinstein is making reasoned arguments, and appealing to facts and evidence, and a general spirit of liberality. This is a recipe for failure.

None of the above has much sway with the loudest and most assertive elements of the campus activist Left. Mind you, these are not most students on campus, and these are not even most liberal and Left students. But they are loud, and they are frightening.

As expected there is a huge furor on right-leaning Twitter and right-wing publications about what is happening to Weinstein. In general the other side of the political spectrum has been muted in its response. Jerry Coyne has spoken up, but that is to be expected. Coyne has a paleoliberal sensibility out of step with the new order. The New York Times has finally weighed in with some broad liberal platitudes in regards to freedom of speech. Weinstein has been vocal about the fact that none of his colleagues have come to his defense.

But one tendency, including among some academics, is to wonder as to the support Bret Weinstein is getting. In particular, the right-wing is agitating against the students. And Weinstein’s brother, who has been vocal in his defense, is affiliated with Thiel Capital. As one scientist on Twitter said, that’s not a “good look.”

From the perspective of the person being attacked and character assassinated this must seem strange and rather shocking. When you are under attack you take the allies you can get. When people want you fired, and would be happy to drive your family into destitution, you take the help and support you can get. This is human nature. Instead of focusing on the injustice Weinstein claims he is suffering, his erstwhile allies on the political Left seem more worried about the people who are coming to Weinstein’s aid.

What if Bret Weinstein told the right-wing publications and Twitter accounts to stop defending him. Would the currently silent liberals and Leftists spring to take their spots? I doubt it. Basically what they are proposing is that Weinstein stand down with no defenses and if he does not, if he can not, he earns their contempt.

This is an opportunity for conservatism. Weinstein may not identify as a conservative today, but he will remember who showed him charity, who gave him a fair hearing, who came to his defense. Conservatism may gain more traction among intellectuals dealing with nihilist Left activists if it exhibits humanity and compassion, stances which are sometimes lacking in the swarming denunciations of the social justice contingent.

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5 Responses to Saving intellectuals from the red guards; it’s a mitzvah

  1. Diogenes von Neumann says:

    I wonder what would have happened if he told them that he was Jewish, not white, and therefore incapable of racism.

    Anyway I can’t say I’m sad to see sensible lefties being attacked and driven away by the woke intersectionalist mob, and fully agree that they should be welcomed into a coalition of the sane.

  2. JW says:

    Reminds me of the Scott Aaronson affair, who now happens to be in Austin

  3. David Hume says:

    I wonder what would have happened if he told them that he was Jewish, not white, and therefore incapable of racism.

    anti-zionism is ascendant on the far left, and that is becoming confused with jewishness. so wouldn’t help.

    (also, his name is weinstein; how dumb are these students if they don’t know he’s jewish?)

  4. Moshe Rudner says:

    On the Rubin interview he said that he doesn’t believe the current Left-> Right Continuum is accurate and that he doesn’t use it. He also said that his views didn’t change this month, he found the aliberal academia, especially from his fellow mad or cowed liberal professors horrible well before this happened to him personally so it didn’t “open his eyes” per se.

    Of greater interest is that your title speaks to a Conservative/Reform way of using the word “Mitzvah”. We washed-in-the-blood sorts find their goyishe usage of jewish terms triggering an uncanny valley sense of disgust. A frum Engdish speaker who felt a need to use the word mitzvah in the title would have entitled the post: “It’s a mitzvah to save intellectuals from the red guards”.

    But would then immediately have to follow it up with naming the specific mitzvah of the 613 and then bringing sources (yes, “bringing”) that indicate that it would apply in a particular kind of situation and only then talk about (yup, “talk about”) the current situation. And for the big finish, the gun introduced in the first paragraph will go off in the last as he in-the-name-of-jesus-we-pray-amen’s.

    The more you know!


  5. (also, his name is weinstein; how dumb are these students if they don’t know he’s jewish?)

    The students aren’t very bright, judging from their SAT scores, but most normal people don’t really pay that much attention to Jewish last names.

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