By Andy Brash
What we are witnessing since the October 7 Pogrom is shocking, yes. And it’s not surprising. It’s also not only antisemitism that we are witnessing. It is more. This is an ideological capture and moral abandonment. It has resulted in institutional rot and has made us willfully blind. It has taken root unchallenged at the institutional level for decades.
What we are witnessing is the predictable result of illiberal and regressive ideas that are touted as liberal and progressive, because those definitions have changed. We have heard for year after year how our nation, and the west in general, is teeming with white supremacists, Nazis, and fascists. The people making these claims use the same tactics that actual white supremacists, Nazis, and fascists use when able to do so.
I tried to make a list of what we are seeing play out at our campuses and in many other areas of life around the world: Marxism, postmodernism, critical theory, transhumanism, neomarxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, the idea of “privilege” which isn’t even the correct word- the word used for this concept should be “advantage,” decolonization, critical social justice, Diversity Inclusion and Equity- with Equity meaning equality of outcome and not equality of opportunity, victimhood narrative, gender theory, patriarchy, internalized misogyny, post truth, virtue signaling, moralizing, the grouping of everyone as either “oppressor” or “oppressed” which is also a Marxist concept, lived experience, math is racist/2+2=4 is not always correct, multiculturalism, “safe spaces” even though nothing can ever be “100% safe,” trigger warnings, silence is violence and somehow words are also violence, violence committed by “the oppressed” is acceptable even necessary, self-identification, externalization of blame to escape individual responsibility…and countless others.
They view Jews as white oppressive colonizers. They say the same things that white supremacists, Nazis, and fascists say. The only difference is, white supremacists, Nazis, and fascists would never accept that Jews are whites. The cognitive dissonance needed to spout these falsehoods without realizing you have become what you claim to be against is beyond mind-boggling to me.
We have forgotten what liberalism actually is. FA Hayek, Milton Friedman, and countless others have described how the definition of “liberal” is no longer associated with the maximization of individual rights and responsibilities that are endowed by our Creator. Instead, for a century at least, “liberal” is associated with reliance on the state. Freedom of speech is no longer a liberal value. It was the American Civil LIBERTIES Union, with a Jewish director, that defended the right of Nazis to march in Skokie. When we abandon liberalism, we abandon our pursuit of a truly healthy society.
We have moved toward the set of ILLIBERAL and REGRESSIVE and away from what is actually liberal and leads towards actual progress. Since we do not have a healthy defense of freedom of speech and other individual rights, in favor of “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings,” we are unable to confront bad ideas with better ideas. What’s more, when ideas can be banned, not discussed, it sends those ideas underground, only to eventually come back above ground stronger than ever. And when we force views that we hate underground, that makes us willfully blind.
We are unable to create a society based on diversity of thought because we’re only concerned with diversity that is skin deep. It used to be only white supremacists and Nazis and fascists who were concerned with skin color. Now it’s the “liberals” and “progressives.” And in the name of “Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity.” So therefore, my question is: how do we take back our universities and institutions from the illiberal, regressive ideology? How do we rekindle an environment where engaging with ideas we don’t like is not just encouraged, it's of the utmost importance? Since we’re talking about universities, how do we go back to teaching HOW to think and not WHAT to think? This is essential to reclaim our institutions for actual liberalism. And for real diversity based on our character and not on our skin color.