Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

It would appear that higher education has become a Politically Correct caricature of itself.  Yet for an increasing number of students, this is no laughing matter, for academia’s ceaseless drift toward the abyss of far-left ideology has been accompanied by an increase in threats of violence.

College campuses in many places have become dangerous for certain kinds of students.

Specifically, they have become dangerous for conservative students.

The College Fix (TCF) is a student-run publication. It is also a national treasure. Its writers deserve praise for drawing the public’s attention to the outrages that pass for higher education today.  Parents should be particularly appreciative to learn that those of their children who they plan on sending to university could be harassed and threatened with violence for not endorsing the ideological groupthink that substitutes for education in the contemporary academic world.

At St. Olaf College, a Lutheran institution in Minnesota, Republican and conservative-leaning students are overwhelmingly outnumbered.  In November, 80% of its student body voted for Hillary Clinton.  Only 10% voted for President Donald Trump.

Yet there are no “safe spaces” for this minority.

TCF quotes the school’s student newspaper, the Manitou Messenger.  The latter interviewed 12 Trump supporting students, virtually “all” of whom admitted to feeling that the campus environment rendered it impossible for them to discuss—civilly, rationally discuss—politics with their peers. But it is even worse than this, given that “several” of these students had been “violently threatened because of their political beliefs [.]”

On the night of the election, the President of the College Republicans, Emily Schaller, was threatened by another student and called a “f**king moron.”  In the days following Trump’s victory, she overheard groups of students promising aloud “to hurt the next conservative or Republican they saw.”

The Vice President of the College Republicans, another young lady, Kathryn Hinderaker, encountered the same phenomenon.  She told her school paper that “one of the hardest things” occurred the day after the presidential election. It was at that time that, upon entering a campus building, she heard someone shout assurances to all Trump voters that they had “better be f**king scared!”  To this, all who were present “clapped and applauded.”

“Obviously,” she concludes, “it didn’t feel super safe.”

It doesn’t take an especially creative intellect to imagine what the reaction of the whole college community would have been had it not been Republican and Trump-supporting students, but, say, immigrant or black students that had been threatened in this manner. Nor does it require much prescience to know that had the female students that were victimized been leftist feminists, the reaction to their victimization would have been far different from what it has been.

One student—another female—remarked that such was the hostility of the environment in her classes toward “conservatives” that she left school for a time.  By the end of the fall semester, the on-line harassment that she endured drove her to transfer to another institution altogether.

In February, someone “posted an unsolicited photo of a group of students that supposedly included Trump supporters and encouraged fellow students to ‘remember their faces.’”

Ironically, St. Olaf College’s chapter of the College Republicans did not endorse Trump during the election season.  However, its members are still targeted. Conservative students will not express their views in class for fear of being ostracized or injured by their peers and penalized by their instructors.

For some students, the toxicity of the campus environment has gotten to be too much.  For about 20 minutes at the beginning of every class period, said one female pupil, her professor would mock Trump.  This student said that she planned on transferring to another institution next year.

While some of their students were being mocked, intimidated, and threatened for their viewpoints, the administrators and faculty of St. Olaf College extended their collective arms in welcoming the one-time Communist Party USA presidential candidate Angela Davis to speak on campus.

Time doesn’t permit it, but, tragically, it wouldn’t require much effort to show that St. Olaf College is not anomalous in these respects.  Conservative students are threatened, bullied, intimidated, and, on occasion, assaulted at colleges and universities around the country.  Worse, it is not always just their fellow students who target them, but professors as well.

In the meantime, and for all of their hysteria concerning the need for “cry ins,” safe spaces, and the like, radical leftist students and faculty speak and act with impunity.

Other examples of this educational malpractice, intolerance, and outright oppression will be revisited in this column in the near future. Everyone who cares about protecting the victims of injustice while salvaging what can be salvaged of higher education in America needs to both inform themselves of this crisis and work diligently to resolve it.

 

 

Nationally syndicated “conservative” talk radio host Michael Savage and his poodle, “Teddy,” were recently assaulted while they exited a restaurant in San Francisco.  A man followed them from the eatery and mocked Savage for his real surname (“Weiner”) before kicking Teddy and throwing Mike to the ground.

Neither master nor dog, fortunately, sustained any serious injuries—though Savage was “bloodied and shaken.”  According to his lawyer, Dan Horowitz, criminal charges will be filed.  They are also going to pursue the possibility of having the assailant charged for committing a hate crime on the grounds that Savage was attacked because of his political views.

Savage is but the latest old man in his 70’s to be roughed up by an intolerant, hate-filled, violent leftist bully.  Attacks of this sort, and worse, against Trump supporters and those just suspected of being Trump supporters, have been occurring for over a year now.  No one is safe, not the elderly, the young, or women.

If one is not on the left, or far enough on the left, then one’s property and person are in jeopardy.  This has become common knowledge.  And yet, while it is indeed important that all decent people, particularly those, like “conservative” media talking heads, call attention to and resoundingly repudiate this phenomenon at every turn, we’ve reached a point at which mere talk has become inadequate.

We’ve passed this point.

“Conservative” talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and many others deserve credit for what good work they’ve done over the decades.  However, the time for getting out from behind a microphone and coordinating and deploying their vast resources for the purpose of resisting the resistance” that’s been intimidating and pummeling innocents is now.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that Rush and his colleagues should organize an army of right-minded thugs to engage in the same civilization-destroying conduct as the leftist savages who we must counter.  But why should massive, organized rallies of the sort that Glenn Beck alone used to effortlessly arrange be out of the question?  We can call these “Stop the Violence” rallies, or maybe “Say No to the Intolerant Left,” or perhaps simply, “Resist ‘The Violent Resistance.”

The name that would be given to such hypothetical demonstrations is of secondary importance at this point.  They need to be organized first.

Bear in mind, these very same self-avowed “conservative” pundits, radio hosts, and television personalities who are forever invoking America’s Founders have given no indication that they’ve so much as considered assembling these collective assertions of self-defense. This is deeply troubling, for consider:

How do you think Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and all of those men (and women!) from the founding generation who dared to take up arms against the most powerful empire the world had known up to that juncture would respond if they were the targets of unprovoked assaults because of their politics?

Do you think that they would have resigned themselves, as many of today’s “conservatives” seem ready to resign themselves, to allowing government (the police) to protect them?

A couple of weeks ago, the former Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, made a video to which some conservatives objected strongly.  Lynch, they insisted, was calling for violence and murder in the streets. In fact, though, she was doing no such thing.  Lynch was indeed calling for activism, street action. Yet her references to violence and death were meant as reminders that earlier generations had shed their own blood and given their lives for their cause.

Now, I am no fan of the corrupt Lynch.  She was speaking to her ideological ilk, not the patriotic Americans who are being victimized because they do not subscribe to Lynch’s far left ideology.  Still, fair is fair: Lynch was no more calling for violence than I am calling for it now when I remind my fellow Americans that those of our ancestors who took up for the cause of liberty and civilization against tyranny, oppression, and savagery when they shed blood, both their own and that of those who would deprive them and their posterity of their freedom.

The Founders recognized that resistance to tyranny, the safeguarding of liberty, not infrequently requires force.

Patrick Henry is a classic example on this score.  “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty,” he declared.  “Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.  Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force.  Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”

Nathan Hale, right before being hanged by the British, defiantly said: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

When the British demanded that he surrender, John Paul Jones exclaimed: “I have not yet begun to fight!”  Jones expressed the perspective of the Spirit of ’76 when he wrote in a letter to Gouverneur Morris: “An honorable Peace is and always was my first wish! I can take no delight in the effusion of human Blood; but, if this War should continue, I wish to have the most active part in it.”

Captain John Parker, who commanded the militiamen at Lexington, informed his men: “Don’t fire unless fired upon. But if they want a war let it begin here.”

George Washington eloquently remarked: “If we desire to insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.”

And who can forget Thomas Jefferson’s comments about “the tree of liberty.”  The latter, he said, “must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

I think it is clear how Mr. Washington and his friends would react if things were such that it was expected that Martha and the ladies would be peppered-sprayed and otherwise assaulted for merely being suspected of holding certain political views.

Perhaps we should learn from their example.

 

A left-leaning colleague of mine recently sent me a link to an article that he found “encouraging.”

Evidently, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, President Trump’s Secretary of Defense, believes that “climate change” is both “real” and, according to the article, “a threat to American interests abroad and the Pentagon’s assets everywhere [.]”  In unpublished written testimony that he gave during his confirmation hearing, Mattis remarked: “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today.”

“Climate change,” then, is an issue of national security.

Contrary to what those like my colleague think, that the President has within his administration people who pay lip service to “climate change” is wholly unsurprising to many of us on this side of the political divide.  This, however, makes it no less discouraging.

And when it comes from a distinguished General and the Secretary of Defense, it is not only discouraging, but concerning.

Some thoughts:

(1)It wasn’t too long ago when it was “global warming,” not “climate change,” that was all of the rage. There was no talk of “climate change.” But then, practically overnight, “global warming” gave way to the latter.  Why?

The catalyst for this change of labels was the leaking of over 1,000 emails, computer code sets, and other documents from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) back in November of 2009.  The leaks revealed a network of corruption and fraud on the part of climate scientists.  Such was the depths of the scandal that the event came to be known as “Climategate.”

Much (but still not enough) has been written in detail about Climategate.  The gist of it, however, is that climate scientists had been cooking their data in order support their preconceived conclusions. They had been guilty of practicing fake science in order to show both that global warming was a crisis and that anthropogenic (“man-made”) global warming was occurring.

“Global warming” was now tainted because of its association with Climategate.

This was one reason that a name-change became imperative.  There is, though, another.

As I wrote back in June of 2013, the “experts” be damned, “the average person is much more disposed to trust his own senses than testimony that militates against it.  And the average person can see that for all the hype over so-called global warming, in many parts of the country—and the planet—it still gets very, very cold.”  In other words, all too often, the actual weather that people experience seems to conflict with the notion that the planet is warming to a dangerous degree (or warming at all).

So, because of its bad press and its clash with our everyday intuitions, its salespersons realized that they needed a new label, a brand name that, fake science scandals aside, no one could possibly deny.  And how could anyone deny “climate change?”  Isn’t everything in this world forever in flux?  Is not the weather constantly changing?

Moreover, “climate change” is sufficiently malleable to immunize its merchants’ claims against refutation.  Yet if a claim is not falsifiable, it is not scientific.  At any rate, real science doesn’t and shouldn’t need to resort to such rhetorical tricks as this.

Rhetorical trickery is the stuff of, not science, but politics.

(2) That global warming or climate change has become such a hotly contested issue should alone suffice to put the lie to the notion that it is an issue of science. So too should the fact that rational dialogue with true believers is impossible. Skeptics invariably encounter alarmism and are summarily dismissed as “deniers.”

To repeat, this is not science. It is politics.

Note, it is not that dialogue over the possibility of global warming per se is impossible. But those who scream from the rooftops about “global warming” are never talking just about this. Their issue is anthropogenic—“man-made”—global warming.

In short, the claim is that, though the Earth has existed for 4.5 billion years, human beings, who, geologically-speaking, constitute a species in its infancy, now threaten to burn it into oblivion—unless the governments of the world unite to assume that much more control and power over the resources and lives of its citizens in order to avert Armageddon.

The problem, here, is that there is no evidence to substantiate the assertion that humans are frying the planet.  In fact, even more modest claims about the causes, scope, and very reality of global warming haven’t the evidence behind them that the claimants make.

Take, for example, the notion that there is catastrophic global warming.  It is simply false. The Earth has been undergoing warming and cooling cycles for thousands of years.  The warming that occurred over the span of the 20th century is “well within the natural variations recorded in the last millennium.”

Since 2001, cooling has been transpiring.

As for CO2 emissions, for which humans are blamed and which are supposedly responsible for ravaging the planet, FriendsofScience.org, an organization of active and retired climate scientists dedicated to disentangling myth from fact, asserts bluntly that “there is no proof that CO2  is the main driver of global warming.”

The scientists at Friends of Science back up their statement. “As measured in ice cores dated over many thousands of years, CO2 levels move up and down AFTER the temperature has done so, and thus are the RESULT OF, NOT THE CAUSE of warming.” They note that the work of geologists in sediments establishes the direction of causality from the Earth’s rising temperature to the increase in CO2 levels—and not vice versa.

“There is solid evidence that, as temperatures move up and down naturally and cyclically through solar radiation, orbital and galactic influences, the warming surface layers of the earth’s oceans expel more CO2 as a result.”

“Global warming” or “climate change,” whatever we decide to call it, is a political issue saturated in fake science.

 

On Saturday morning, after months of baseless allegations that he had colluded with the Russian government to steal the presidential election from Hillary Clinton, President Trump had reached his limit.

With just a few tweets, Trump flipped the script on his detractors by doing what no Republican had ever had the guts to do:

He called out President Obama directly and accused his predecessor of having “wire tapped” his home.

At first, the usual suspects—i.e. those who never tire of grossly underestimating Trump, irrespectively of the frequency with which he owns them—laughed off his charge, claiming that he presented no evidence for it.  Yet within no time this began to change as those of the President’s critics in the media were reminded that it is they who had been presenting evidence for his claims not long ago.

The left-leaning Mother Jones, for example, stated in October of 2016 that “several national security experts” maintained that “there is widespread concern in the US intelligence community that Russian intelligence, via hacks, is aiming to undermine the presidential election—to embarrass the United States and delegitimize its democratic elections. And the hacks appear to have been designed to benefit Trump.”  

Here’s what appears to have occurred.

Initially, according to Heat Street, because of a connection between a server in Trump Tower and a server for two Russian banks, the FBI decided to determine whether Trump may have committed “financial and banking offenses.” It concluded not only that there had been no such offenses, but that the activity between the servers may have been nothing more than spam.

Back in October, the New York Times reported that upon its months-long investigation of presidential candidate Trump, the FBI found “no clear link to Russia.”

“Agents scrutinized advisers close to Donald J. Trump, looked for financial connections with Russian financial figures, searched for those involved in hacking the computers of Democrats, and even chased a lead—which they ultimately came to doubt—about a possible secret channel of email communication from the Trump Organization to a Russian bank.”

On the same day that the Times story was published, the unapologetically anti-Trump Slate confirmed both that the FBI had been investigating Trump and that it concluded that there was no wrongdoing.

 

In other words, the FBI looked into a possible criminal matter and came up empty. But then its counter-intelligence arm chose to reframe the issue in terms of national security and request a warrant from FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.  Doing so would allow the FBI to continue monitoring Trump, a private citizen, at the time, despite a criminal investigation that should have put the whole issue to rest.  Andrew McCarthy explains that while citizens “normally may not be subjected to searches or electronic eavesdropping absent probable cause of a crime,” FISA permits exceptions as long as “there is [a] probable cause they are agents of a foreign power” (italics original).

No one with a straight face could possibly think, much less say aloud, that Trump is a Russian spy.

So, in June of last year—shortly after Trump secured the GOP nomination—a request was filed with FISA to continue monitoring a possible Trump link with Russia (the request is said to have “named” Trump, whatever exactly this means).  That the agency had no grounds for its request, that it had gathered nothing from its previous searching, is borne out by the following fact:

In June of 2013, The Wall Street Journal published an article in which it revealed that in 33 years, from its beginning in 1979 to 2012, the FISA Court granted more than 33,900 warrant requests while turning down only 11. It had a 99.97% rate of approval.  It’s been that easy.

And yet the FBI’s request to continue monitoring an alleged Trump/Russia tie was denied.

Four months later—shortly before the general election—the FBI narrowed its focus and resubmitted its request to the FISA Court.  This time, Trump apparently was not named and the request to continue surveilling an American citizen for whom the government had no evidence of criminal wrongdoing (and the members of his inner circle, including some private citizens, like General Michael Flynn) was granted.

Still, not a scintilla of evidence of impropriety, much less collusion to “hack” an election,” was forthcoming.

Obama, of course, speaking through one of his former spokespersons, denied ever having “interfered” with an “independent” Department of Justice investigation or “ordered” surveillance of “any private citizen.”  Immediately, observers noted the carefully worded response of Team Obama, a “non-denial denial.”

Consider: Obama does not deny that a private citizen, candidate Trump, was being monitored by his Justice Department. Presidents can’t “order” FISA warrants, as Obama surely knows.  However, only a fool could think that Obama was ignorant of the spying, and it stretches credibility to the snapping point to imagine that this spying on a private citizen and his arch-political opponent, the man who he rightly feared would roll back his legacy, was without Obama’s blessing.

At any rate, it was Obama’s administration and, though he never lived by this rule, the buck does and should stop with the President.

Trump may have spoken (or tweeted) clumsily, but the gist of his charge is eminently plausible given what the Obama-friendly media have been telling us for months.  As Mark Levin said, the evidence for Obama’s spying is “overwhelming.”  Levin also recommended that Congress should request copies of Obama’s daily intelligence briefings from the past year to determine what he knew and when he knew it.

When Newsmax editor Chris Ruddy spoke to him about Obama’s denial that he had anything to do with the surveillance to which Trump had been subjected, the President shot back: “This will be investigated, it will all come out.  I will be proven right.”

Given Trump’s track record these nearly last two years, there is good reason to take him at his word here.