- Here in the US, we are subject to the punitive authority of a mob that has draped itself in the guise of moral superiority. After all, who can (dare) argue against the idea that Black Lives Matter?
- These days, when the media covers for violent riots as peaceful protests, it seems that anyone can lay claim to the mantle of being an “intellectual.”
- All in all, such is the level of heroism we can expect these days from our role models in academia, as it becomes difficult to distinguish them from the unruly mobs — with nary a word from the media.
In August 2005, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd invoked a mother’s moral authority against President Bush on the issue of the Iraq War.
Cindy Sheehan’s son had been killed in Iraq the previous year and insisted on camping outside the Bush ranch until the president agreed to speak to her. Bush had already spoken to her, but she insisted on speaking to him again, so she could tell him why the war was wrong and the US should pull out its forces. Dowd attacked Bush’s failure to meet with her, proclaiming that regardless of his own justifications for the war
his humanitarianism will remain inhumane as long as he fails to understand that the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.
Putting aside the moral authority of parents whose children were killed in the war yet agreed with the reasons for it — the fact remains that the idea of this kind of moral authority resonates.
For example, in 2014 the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network announced on its website:
Over 300 Survivors and Descendants of Survivors of Victims of the Nazi Genocide Condemn Israel’s Assault on Gaza
313 Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide have signed this letter written in response to Elie Wiesel’s manipulation of the Nazi Genocide to attempt to justify the attacks on Gaza.
The ‘letter’ neglects to link to or even quote what Wiesel said. But it does make clear that it opposed the “ongoing genocide” of the ever-increasing Palestinian Arab population.
Looking through the 312 signatures — and the moral authority they represent — the breakdown is that the letter was signed by:
o 39 Holocaust survivors
o 97 children of survivors
o 112 grandchildren
o 13 great-grandchildren
o 51 other relatives
The underlying assumption is that not only does the respect due to Holocaust survivors extend to how Israel should defend itself against the genocidal intentions of Palestinian terrorists, but that this ‘authority’ is somehow hereditary and passed down to all descendants.
Here in the US, we are subject to the punitive authority of a mob that has draped itself in the guise of moral superiority. After all, who can (dare) argue against the idea that Black Lives Matter?
Yet these mobs are different from the ones back in the day of the Soviet Union:
The mobs that perform the unanimous condemnation rituals of today do not follow orders from above. But that does not diminish their power to exert pressure on those under their influence.
This has resulted in a cancel culture that attacks more than just statues to be torn down.
Ira Stoll has been maintaining a List of People Canceled in Post-George-Floyd Antiracism Purges. Starting with James Bennet, who lost his job over the backlash to the Tom Cotton op-ed, the list includes editors, CEOs, and employees at universities and media — over 20 people so far.
To take an example of the ‘moral authority’ at the university level — we have gone way beyond the usual mob harassment and intimidation of invited speakers that we have been used to talking about, where the students harass and the university sits idly by and allows it to happen.
Instead, at UMass Amherst, University Targets Its Own Student for ‘White Supremacy’
Campus professors, administrators, and graduate student instructors publicly smeared UMass Amherst student Louis Shenker as a dangerous racist and falsely charged him with hate crimes to get him expelled from school, claiming that his “views are not the kind we want to cultivate at the University.”
In December 2018, Shenker — a “Jewish, a conservative, an outspoken Zionist, and a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump” — attended a protest against racism and white supremacy while wearing a MAGA cap and carrying a sign supporting Trump. He was harassed by students, who blocked him from displaying his sign, calling him a “Nazi” and a “fascist.”
That is when a graduate student who teaches undergraduate students grabbed his hat and screamed curses at him. The campus police determined that Shenker was “the victim of larceny and assault and battery motivated by anti-white and anti-Jewish bias.”
The university did nothing.