This week on the Spectator USA Life & Arts podcast, I’m casting the pod with Heather Mac Donald. A scholar at the Manhattan Institute, Heather is the author of The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture, a scathing and accurate critique of just about everything that’s gone wrong with American higher education.
In her previous book, The War on Cops, Heather tried, she says, “to give voice to the millions of law-abiding minority residents of high-crime areas who support the police and are desperate for more law enforcement protection.” When she was invited to speak at Claremont McKenna College in California, student groups organised on Facebook to “shut down” the “notorious white supremacist racist Heather Mac Donald.” When she got to campus, she was moved directly to what would otherwise be called a “safe space” for her own protection. With a police escort, and more than two hundred black-clad protestors banging on the windows, she had to livestream her speech from a vacant room.
“When speakers need police escort on and off college campuses, an alarm bell should be going off that something has gone seriously awry,” Heather writes in The Diversity Delusion. “Of course, an ever-growing part of the faculty is the reason that police protection is needed in the first place. Professors in all but the hardest of sciences increasingly indoctrinate students in the belief that to be a non-Asian minority or a female in America today is to be the target of non-stop oppression, even, uproariously, if you are among the privileged few to attend a fantastically well-endowed resource-rich American college. Those professors also maintain that to challenge that claim of ubiquitous bigotry is to engage in ‘hate speech’ and that such speech is tantamount to a physical assault on minorities and females.”
The result, Heather argues, is narcissism and violence from the students, and the failure of the university to inculcate, in Matthew Arnold’s words from Culture & Anarchy, “the best that has been thought and said.” But it’s not all bad news: the success of non-academic courses like The Great Books, and the existence of cultural endeavours like this one show that people still care about the Humanities, even if the academic Humanities have abandoned their mission. All students of the higher lunacy of the modern academy should enrol for Heather Mac Donald’s inaugural Life & Arts lecture.