You Reap What You Sow: The Irony of Campus Protests

For some time now, the secular Left has functioned as a grand coalition of grievances, engaging in an almost wholesale dismissal of our American heritage and seeking the revolutionary overthrow of its cultural institutions. Meanwhile, its higher educational co-conspirators have managed to turn our nation’s elite educational institutions into Leftist anger factories, churning out hundreds of thousands of disaffected revolutionaries whose uninformed views and adolescent anger are unleashed against whichever innocent bystanders are at hand.

But the funny thing about producing uninformed revolutionaries is that they soon turn on the very people who nurtured their ill-informed insolence. You reap what you sow.

That is precisely what we are seeing this May, as many of our elite universities have decided to cancel their commencement ceremonies. On Monday, Columbia University announced it would be canceling its main commencement ceremony after prolonged pro-Palestinian demonstrations wreaked havoc on campus. For years, Columbia professors have fueled cancel culture, and now Columbia’s administrators have had to cancel their commencement.

Little surprise that Columbia is being rocked by violent anarchical protests. It was Columbia that gave refuge to the founding fathers of German critical theory, whose revolutionary ideology has given rise to recent revolutionary theories of the Left—Queer Theory, Critical Race Theory, Gender Theory, Fat Theory, Disability Theory, and more. The socio-cultural anarchy spawned at Columbia has returned home to clean house.

Columbia’s situation may have received the most media attention, but it is not alone. The Left’s invariably rude, sometimes violent protests, marked by more than 2,000 arrests during the last three weeks, have caused a number of university administrators to revise their commencement plans. Emery University has moved its main ceremony to a secure facility 20 miles from campus. The University of Southern California was forced to cancel its main commencement ceremony. Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have had to threaten demonstrators with academic suspension. The list goes on ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

Yes, the Left’s political tactics that have taken root on America’s campuses are the result of months of planning and training by professional activists and Left-wing groups. But they are also the result of decades of Leftist indoctrination and adolescent coddling on the very university campuses that are paying the price. As Carl Trueman puts it, “It’s not so much that the lunatics have taken over the asylum as the kindergartners have taken over the nursery.”

So, what should university administrators do? They should consider hiring a plurality of professors who aren’t Left-leaning so that their campuses have at least a semblance of ideological diversity, a cohort of professors who represent the red portions of our nation and a modicum of reasoned debate between Left and Right.

For starters, they should hire professors who view the university as a place for higher education rather than as a greenhouse for political revolutionaries, and they should impart the basic knowledge that every college student should receive. Teach them the history of Israel, for example, so they can gain an appreciation for the resilience of a people who have been hounded out of house and home, exterminated on a mass scale, and surrounded by nations who wish to obliterate them from the map.

They should hire professors and create a curriculum that teaches the basic principles of the Just War tradition and the widespread bloodshed that occurs if society buys into Just War’s competitors—pacifism and jihadism. From the Just War tradition, they can learn to avoid positing a false moral equivalency between terrorists such as Hamas and legitimate nation-states such as Israel; they can gain an appreciation for the longstanding Just War principles that minimize the amount of bloodshed and oppression experienced in our fallen world.

They should hire professors who teach students how to most effectively exercise their freedom of speech and how to properly stage a protest. These professors and their courses will help students gain an appreciation for the type of protests Martin Luther King, Jr. staged, demonstrations that aren’t ignorant or violent but learned and peaceful.

They should hire professors who teach students the merits of reform over revolution. Historically, when an aggrieved group perceives an injustice and responds with revolutionary action, the result is widespread bloodshed as successful revolutionaries usually—though not always—become violent oppressors in their own capacity.

Finally, they shouldn’t take their student revolutionaries so seriously. Treat them with respect due to their membership in the human race, but don’t overlook the ignorance, insincerity, and racism on display. Their protests seem insincere, as it is clear that many of our college protestors have no affinity with or affection for the Arab-Muslim worldview, code of sexual ethics, or way of life. Their protests are childish, as they hold administrative buildings hostage and then demand food and water service from the university. Their protests are often racist, calling for the extermination of the Israeli nation while glossing over the wanton bloodshed fostered by Hamas.

These five suggestions, just for starters, would help our universities to foster a less adolescent and more adult environment, and they would do a great service to our divided society. However, given that it is unimaginable that our elite institutions of higher education would correct course, it seems the more viable path for Christians is to continue supporting, praying for, and holding accountable our evangelical Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries. If we don’t, we will reap what we sow as well.


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