Turn on Fox News between 8 and 11 p.m. and watch for an hour. There is a good chance that you will hear the words “liberal elitism.” Occasionally, liberal elitism is referred to as “northern” or “coastal” elitism, due to the locations (the Northeast and the West Coast) of these liberal elitists. While the Oxford English Dictionary has yet to define the term, resources such as the Washington Post, National Review, the Huffington Post, and the Independent have attempted to provide a definition. The most concrete definition I’ve found is from Wikipedia, which defines liberal elitism as “a pejorative term used to describe politically leftists, whose education had traditionally opened the doors to affluence and power and form a managerial elite.”
Amid peaceful protests, Dr. Paul Gottfried discussed his book Fascism: The Career of a Concept last week with Professor Alfred Kelly’s “Nazi Germany” class and interested guests. Gottfried introduced his lecture with brief commentary about both liberals’ and conservatives’ use of the label “fascist” to condemn either side of the political spectrum. According to Gottfried, the use of “fascism” as a label for any movement that is not derivative of Benito Mussolini’s Italian fascist movement is simply inaccurate.
Few literary commentators would dispute that Wilfred Owen was one of the greatest war poets of the last hundred years. He wrote from personal experience as a British soldier in World War I. Surprisingly, these poems were written in just over a year, and of those he fought with, few knew he had such a gift.
Hamilton College is acknowledging the hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution with displays of crimson banners, books from International Publishers (a Communist organization), and visages of Lenin in the library.
This month, Austria and the Czech Republic held general elections. The results in both countries represent the latest step in right-wing populism’s march through Europe. On October 15, Austrians voted for Sebastian Kurz, a 31-year-old ex-foreign minister and head of the center-right OVP (Austrian People’s Party), to be their next chancellor. After his appointment to the OVP’s top spot last May, Kurz revitalized his stagnant and floundering party, bringing it from a dismal 20 percent support to 31.5 percent in the election. Discussion of migration dominated the campaign. Kurz capitalized on popular concerns about this issue, promising to close the Mediterranean Route, a major path African migrants take to reach Europe, and arguing that “on a European level we need to fight hard to put a stop to immigration.” Interestingly, the OVP’s embrace of nationalism did not prevent the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) from gaining ground; the FPO also climbed 5% to 26%, finishing just behind the second-place Social Democrats.
On Tuesday, October 3, the Office of the President and the Government Department hosted “Free Speech on Campus,”a panel discussion. Following opening remarks from President Wippman about the role of free speech and the First Amendment at Hamilton, Professor Rob Martin introduced the panelists.
Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions set off controversy with his address to Georgetown University law students warning that free speech is under attack on college campuses. He lamented the loss of “academic freedom” and criticized universities for creating a “shelter for fragile egos.”
There are multiple underlying issues in the recent allegations of the ongoing Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment and assault scandal. The first aspect worth discussing is what an indescribably repulsive reptile this amoral predator is. It is impossible to imagine that his abuses continued for three decades without Hollywood bigwigs knowing of it, going along, and accepting the idea of his casting couch as part of doing business: "You want me to make you a world-famous, mega-millionaire movie star? What are you going to do for me, and why should I pick you over a million other gorgeous wannabes?"
Among the countless e-mails Hamilton students received last week, one in particular caused me to jump for joy. It told of the availability of a free ticket to “Common Ground featuring David Axelrod and Karl Rove, moderated by Susan Page.” However, my joy quickly turned to apprehension for this coming event when I shared my excitement with another student. The student commented in reply: “Karl Rove really is a terrible person, though”. I was struck by the gravity of this statement. I realized that the event could lead to campus-wide protests.
Over the past few years, Hamilton College has suggested and implemented drastic changes to social and residential life policies which, in almost every instance, have outraged students and alumni. In 2014 the college imposed a requirement that all students must live on campus, subjecting them to the patronizing and infantilizing attitudes that the college assumes regarding social activities and personal responsibility. While it is easy to understand the considerations leading to this specific decision, there has been talk among administration, faculty, and trustees (whom I will refrain from naming) about sanctioning students who choose to pay for on-campus housing, as required, but live off-campus in personally rented apartments. In other words, some decision-makers at Hamilton want to control and punish students’ personal leisure activities and police their financial decisions made autonomously and independently of any institutional impositions.
Donald Trump’s supposed support of free speech and his opposition to excessive political correctness helped garner him him legions of followers. Cherry picking examples, Trump made it appear as if there was a credible threat to free speech, and thus set himself up as a defender of the First Amendment. His war against left-leaning media outlets, combined with his stream-of-consciousness tweeting style, also make clear that his loose definition of free speech is largely one of self-convenience. His hypocrisy, however, is especially evident right now in regard to a very different issue: his handling of the Saudi-Qatar crisis.
Last Friday night at a rally in Alabama, President Donald Trump called for those NFL players who knelt during the national anthem at games to be fired. He was referring to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started kneeling during the anthem last year in protest of police brutality against black men. Others have recently kneeled in protest and in solidarity with their fellow football player Kaepernick, also starting the twitter hashtag #ImWithKap.