Campus Rage Is A Sacrament Of A New Religion

when a mob at Vermont’s Middlebury College shut down a speech by social scientist Charles Murray a few weeks ago, most of us saw it as a another instance of campus illiberalism. Jonathan Haidt saw something more – a ritual carried out by adherents of what he calls a “new religion,” an auto-da-fé against a heretic for a violation of orthodoxy.1

… These believers are transforming the campus from a citadel of intellectual freedom into a holy space–where white privilege has replaced original sin, the transgressions of class and race and gender are confessed not to priests but to”the community,” victim groups are worshiped like gods, and the sinned-against are supplicated with “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.”

The fundamentalists may be few, Mr. Haidt says, but they are”very intimidating” Since they wield the threat of public shame. On some campuses,”they’ve been given the hecklers veto, and are often granted it by an administration who won’t stand up to them either.”

… Today justice means equal outcomes.”There are two ideas now in the academic left that weren’t there 10 years ago,” he says, “One is that everyone is racist because of unconscious bias, and the other is that everything is racist because of systemic racism.” That makes justice impossible to achieve: “When you cross that line into insisting if there’s not equal outcomes then some people and some institutions and subsystems are racist, sexist, then you’re setting yourself up for eternal conflict and injustice.”

Bari Weiss “The Cultural Roots of Campus Rage: The Weekend Interview with Jonathan Haidt,” Wall Street Journal April 1, 2017, p. A9.

HB Editor’s Note.é is Portuguese for “Act of Faith.”

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  1. Yes, a literal rendering of auto-da-fe is “act of faith.” The phrase is generally associated, however, with the burning at the stake of a heretic, which better suits the context of the passage.

  2. Is this a new religion or the outworking of envy? Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. captures the raging, screaming, green-eyed spirit of envy in his brilliantly conceived short story, “Harrison Bergeron,”

    “THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.”

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