MILLER: To insure domestic hostility 

A sidewalk leads to the South Building on campus at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

An Italian once said that American tourists are easy to spot because Americans are always moving “confidently in the wrong direction.” 

The same can be said of America’s self-styled sages, who’ve been moving our universities confidently in the wrong direction — leftward — since the 1970s. Inspired by the Frankfurt School’s neo-Marxists, the hard left aims to “transform” America “into the right kind of society,” a utopia of “social justice” designed by themselves. 

Their forced march through our universities began in the mid-1970s, and a half-century later, its foot soldiers remain unfazed by their failure to transform us. French philosopher and former socialist Jean-Francois Revel explained that “Utopia is not under the slightest obligation to produce results: its sole function is to allow its devotees to condemn what exists in the name of what does not.” 

Anyone who has wondered what makes certain scholars devote whole careers to condemning Western “inequality” or “inequity” will find the answer in a C.S. Lewis essay that was first published in 1944. Titled “Democratic Education,” Lewis’ essay includes a keen insight into human nature: “The demand for equality has two sources; one of them is the noblest, the other is the basest of human emotions. The noble source is the desire for fair play. But the other is the hatred of superiority.” 

No one would deny that a desire for fair play was the left’s original intent, but no one can deny that the progressive left seems just as intent on toppling their betters as they are on rescuing the victims of “inequality” and “inequity.” 

The type that hates superiority has always been useful to apparatchiks who would advance a Marxist agenda in Western democracies. Stalin’s henchmen preyed upon Westerners who had been “hurt by fate or nature” and who needed a “sense of belonging to an influential and powerful organization [that] will give them a feeling of superiority over the prosperous people around them.” That line came straight from the Soviets’ playbook, but their approach has worked well with students in American universities. 

Students who march lockstep with the hard left aim to halt the “ravages of capitalism” and found “a new world order based on justice, on equity, and on peace” — perhaps unaware that they are quoting from the machinations of Fidel Castro. H.L. Menchen dubbed such youngsters “professional world savers … young wizards who sweat to save the plain people from the degradations of capitalism, which is to say, from the degradations of working hard, saving their money, and paying their way.” 

Churchill simply said that such youngsters have succumbed to “the gospel of envy.” 

Dissenting students who profess a faith in free markets are tagged “Caucasoid” by classmates who equate capitalism with white supremacy, while students who profess a Christian faith are tagged “Jeezoid” by those who equate religion with ignorance. Yale’s sociology department plans to rehabilitate its Christian enrollees by staging seminars that “discuss the paranoid, exclusionary, megalomaniacal tendencies of Christian nationalists and the immediate threat they pose to American democracy.” Harvard’s plan has students reading “Good Without God,” chaplain Greg Epstein’s best-selling guide from 2010. 

When Victorian poet Matthew Arnold died before he had resolved his own crisis of faith, Robert Lewis Stevenson joked, “Poor Matt, he’s gone to Heaven, no doubt — but he won’t like God!” The same might be said of our Ivy League atheists, but the trend they have set for universities nationwide is no laughing matter.  

During his tenure as chancellor of Boston University, John Silber wrote, “No institution has contributed so extensively to the deracination and diminishment of our humanity as university faculties.” In the decade since Silber’s death, the plot to incite students’ hostility toward their heritage and their faith has only thickened, and the toll it has taken on young psyches is self-evident. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has noted “the soaring heights of mental health challenges” among today’s youth, but, hilariously, it has taken a con man to pinpoint the source. No less than Sam Bankman-Fried feels “bad for those who get f—ed by … this dumb game we woke westerners play where we say all the right shibboleths and so everyone likes us.”  

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s board of trustees would loosen the grip woke Westerners have on higher education by establishing a School of Civic Life and Leadership, where students can experience “the full freedom of expression, intellectual diversity, and open inquiry” into religion and economics. Faculty objections to a school that would welcome students whose ideas that run counter to the doctrinaire left are as daft as they were predictable. 

During a 1979 interview with economist Milton Friedman, talk-show host Phil Donahue pressed Friedman to agree that it was time to replace an economic system that runs on greed. Friedman’s response includes a reminder that all of history’s great achievers have acted out of self-interest — not at the bidding of some “government bureau.” Friedman concluded his primer on economics with a question: “Just tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us.” 

If Milton Friedman were alive today, he’d be the first to note that you will not find angels among the smug, self-styled sages who, for now, control the agenda in American universities.