Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean

In Mark Charedoff’s “Goodbye, Columbia,” he constructs a fantasy in which colleges — ten small and poor enough to be bullied by donors but with respectable names — would be transformed to inculcate right-wing Jewish donors’ political and moral beliefs. It’s a version of Plato’s state in which the philosopher-kings (donors) rule over the “producers” (students) with the aid of the Guardians (faculty). Producers come in, Guardians transform them (via the philosopher-king’s playbook), and graduate them out to impose this arrangement on the rest of the world. Nobody mentions that this arrangement is entirely predicated on a Noble Lie which slots everyone into their social roles and justifies doing so. (If you remember the hypnoaedic recordings respectively played to the sleeping Alphas, Betas, and Gammas in Huxley’s Brave New World, you’ve got the picture.)

The “Noble Liars…” Let’s just say that they are bog-standard AIPAC donors who want all the usual things. They want to eliminate DEI programs and “Critical Legal Studies” and design a curriculum similar to the “Great Books” program, but not containing material to be found in “left-wing” political thought, e.g., Fanon. They speak in the name of “freedom” and “excellence” but in the service of ideological reproduction. You don’t need Plato, weak liberal arts institutions, or that much money. What you really want is someplace like Liberty University or Patrick Henry University, which you can create de novo as institutions “safe for Jews.” Of course, there are many types of Jews, and it remains to be seen what sort would consider applying. My guess is that they want the secular ones who would otherwise go to Ivies, not actual believers. It’s a “intellectual liberty”/”physical safety” tradeoff of the Ben Franklin kind, and those who choose “safety” will find it comes with an entire Hermès store of baggage.

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