As printed in the Wall Street Journal, an excerpt from Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn’s remarks at the Atlanta National Leadership Seminar, February 15:
Why would a bunch of 19-year olds rage and take over college campuses? The answer is they have been taught to do that in the classroom where they are taught….that their consciousness is shaped by time and circumstance….If what you see when you see people now is a history of color and race and oppression and suppression and all of that, all of a sudden all of humanity is not your brother and sister anymore. Now everyone is in a group. And the group conflict and the arrangement of the group is the key. And the avant-garde in the university–they think that they have understood that the best. And so the university must be remade just to represent the groups.
And I’ll just mention one point about education. Every serious achievement in education involves forgetting oneself.
As I first read this quote, it occurred to me that it’s worth thinking about where all of this began and lately several people have written about the influence of Herbert Marcuse, a German-American philosopher and Marxist. He wrote an essay entitled “Repressive Intolerance” in 1965 which became the “bible” of campus radicalism (literally for the Weather Underground) and, according to David French in National Review, still afflicts the body politic of the radical left like a recurring cancer. What Marcuse said, says French, is basically this: there is no virtue in what the mainstream culture defines as “tolerance” if that tolerance will preserve the status quo. A central theme then arises that toleration of free speech is empty if there is intolerance of revolutionary action. Needless to say, the Marcusian movement has plenty of blood on its hands. Ideas have consequences.