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University of Oklahoma Frat Boys and Hypocrisy

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The president of the University of Oklahoma expelled white members of a fraternity that had been captured on video chanting what could be the last of the English language’s “four letter words” recognized by our society. Some remarks are in order.


First, as black civil rights activist Michael Myers, among an ever increasing number of commentators, has observed, the decision of the president of a public institution to expel students who threatened no one amounts to nothing more or less than an assault on the latter’s freedom of speech.

Second, Thomas Sowell once remarked that no issue taps man’s irrationality as much as that of race. Whether this statement is true of “man” generally is questionable. Considered as a judgment on contemporary Western men and women, however, it couldn’t be more accurate. The situation in Oklahoma is but the latest piece of proof of this.

But it isn’t just sheer irrationality that’s on display here. As is normally the case, the reaction on the part of the chattering class tells us infinitely more about the commentators than anything that it reveals about the phenomenon on which they are commenting.

And what the coverage of this event in Oklahoma tells us is that the prevailing Zeitgeist and its impeccably Politically Correct guardians in the media are awash in an abyss of moral confusion and hypocrisy.

For decades, it has been standard operating procedure for colleges and universities around the nation to enthusiastically, indeed, zealously, create whole programs—like, say, “Women’s Studies” and “African American Studies”—that are nothing more than overt exercises in identity politics. More to the point, students enrolled in these courses are forced fed a regular diet of anti-white, anti-male, anti-heterosexual, and anti-Christian stock phrases and clichés cloaked in an academic veneer. The University of Oklahoma is no exception in this respect.


Nor have any of the traditional disciplines in the humanities and social sciences been immune to the politicization of race, gender, and sexual orientation that is so obviously on display in such recently invented courses like “Women’s Studies” and the like: philosophy, literature, history, and political science, to say nothing of sociology, anthropology, and psychology, which have all been exploited in the service of a worldview that allows for only Oppressors and the Oppressed. Even such hard sciences as biology have fallen prey to the machinations of ideologues invested in suppressing research that threatens to shatter their racial and gender fictions.

The point is this: Contrary to President David Boren’s remarks, it isn’t the drunk, foolish, white fraternity students on a bus who are responsible for having created a “hostile learning environment.” It is the faculty of humanities and liberal arts departments throughout America, and, by implication, administrators like himself, who hold that distinction.

This is no hyperbole. Tragically, academia is not anything at all like the bastion of free thought or the thriving marketplace of ideas that David Boren and his ilk would have us believe it is. In fact, if a visitor from another world surveyed 21st century America, our intergalactic spectator would discover that there is considerably more intellectual conformity among academics than exists among the populace generally. Moreover, there is enormous pressure—intimidation and coercion—to conform to the academic’s orthodoxy.


It is sheer hypocrisy for Boren, his faculty, and their comrades throughout the rest of the academic universe to point their collective finger at anyone, much less those whose intellects have been entrusted to their care, for the racial straightjacket—the hostility to learning—with which they’ve been constraining their students’ minds for far too long, for this is a device of their own making.

But we would be sorely mistaken if we assumed that the Left had a monopoly on hypocrisy in this case. Self-avowed “conservatives” on talk radio and Fox News, ever eager as such folks always are to prove to their leftist detractors that they aren’t the ruthless “racists” that the latter are forever accusing them of being, spared not a moment to denounce the students and demand their expulsion.

Mike Gallagher and Sean Hannity are but two examples of “conservatives” who refused to be bested in the hand-wringing contest that began to rage until Michael Myers, to his eternal credit, reminded them of a precious little thing called liberty. Even the liberal Washington Post was quick to remind the public of the unconstitutionality of expelling students from a public university for speech—even “racist” or “offensive” or “tasteless” speech.

When a young black thug—think Trayvon Martin or the original “Gentle Giant,” Michael Brown—gets himself killed upon acting violently, mainstream commentators of both a recognizably leftist and a “conservative” bent, even when they (eventually) concede his guilt, wail and weep over what they decry as the tragic death of a young man or teenager. Everyone from the president of the United States on down look beyond the incident to the “root causes” that magically—but all so predictably—transform the victimizer into the victim.


But when it is white “youth” that are guilty of doing what college “kids” throughout the land are known for doing—drinking and acting sophomorically, i.e. harming no one save themselves—there is no mercy. There is no quest for “root causes” (like, namely, the profoundly inhibitive “learning” environment that their racially-correct professors and other movers and shakers in various media and politics created).

Has anyone who has thoughtlessly demanded the expulsion of these students considered for a moment how this may affect the rest of these young people’s lives? Talk radio hosts and Fox News celebrities who call for the guillotine as a fitting penalty for drunken stupidity—after all, there was no crime here—strike the impartial observer as being more interested in moral posturing than they are interested in preserving liberty and combatting the flagrantly racial double standards that are their enemies’ weapons of choice.

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