Bedbug claim confirmed

I also went looking for recent Bret Stephens wisdom, and found some on the subject of The War On Excellence a couple of week ago:

Today’s students are not chafing under some bow-tied patriarchal WASP dispensation. Instead, they are the beneficiaries of a system put in place by professors and administrators whose political views are almost uniformly left wing and whose campus policies indulge nearly every progressive orthodoxy.

So why all the rage?

The answer lies in the title of Anthony Kronman’s necessary, humane and brave new book: “The Assault on American Excellence.” Kronman’s academic credentials are impeccable — he has taught at Yale for 40 years and spent a decade as dean of its law school — and his politics, so far as I can tell, are to the left of mine.

But Yale has been ground zero for recent campus unrest, including a Maoist-style struggle session against a distinguished professor, fights about “cultural appropriation,” the renaming of Calhoun (as in, John C.) College and the decision to drop the term “master” because, to some, it carried “a painful and unwelcome connotation.”

Only to some though. To the people who could answer to the word “master,” why, it’s a lovely word. Several words are like that, I think. “Sir,” “your lordship,” “your holiness” – they all hint at a particular form of male power which does not always entail the consent of those subject to that power, so yes, it does carry “a painful and unwelcome connotation.” Fancy that.

It’s this last decision that seems to have triggered Kronman’s alarm. The word “master” may remind some students of slavery. What it really means is a person who embodies achievement, refinement, distinction — masterliness — and whose spirit is fundamentally aristocratic. Great universities are meant to nurture that spirit, not only for its own sake but also as an essential counterweight to the leveling and conformist tendencies of democratic politics that Alexis de Tocqueville diagnosed as the most insidious threats to American civilization.

Why does Bret Stephens get to decide that “master” really means a person who embodies achievement, refinement, distinction as opposed to a person who owns and extracts labor from slaves?

Also notice the cowardly evasion of the fact that it’s an explicitly male word, with the awkward addition that the female version now means non-marital sex partner rather than The Lady of the House. He says “person” but that’s bullshit, it means male person. And the codswallop about refinement and aristocratic is just that. He sounds like Margaret Mitchell with a better vocabulary.

What’s happening on campuses today isn’t a reaction to Donald Trump or some alleged systemic injustice, at least not really. Fundamentally, Kronman argues, it’s a reaction against this aristocratic spirit — of being, as H.L. Mencken wrote, “beyond responsibility to the general masses of men, and hence superior to both their degraded longings and their no less degraded aversions.” It’s a revolt of the mediocre many against the excellent few. And it is being undertaken for the sake of a radical egalitarianism in which all are included, all are equal, all are special.

So. David Karpf wasn’t wrong; dude’s a bedbug.

9 Responses to “Bedbug claim confirmed”