Earlier this month the president of Princeton one Christopher Eisgruber, a former constitutional law professor of exquisite progressive lefty sensibilities, published a declaration saying that racism was embedded in the structures of the university he led – Princeton being perhaps, student-for-student, the greatest of the Ivy League American universities and one-time home of Albert Einstein.
Eisgruber’s declaration included the claim that ‘anti-black racism has a visible bearing upon Princeton’s campus make-up’. This is just the sort of thing you expect from the virtue-signalling ‘wokerati’ who infest the upper echelons of virtually all Anglosphere universities (most definitely including here in Australia too). And in Britain, Canada and here that sort of bumper sticker moralising declaration would be allowed to pass uncontested. Certainly no Coalition government would do anything about it. Nor would Boris in Britain.
Not so in the US where President Trump seems to understand that ultimately everything is downstream of the culture and that fighting the culture wars is by far the biggest battle that matters. So in response to the president of Princeton the federal Department of Education said, in effect, ‘if that’s true, then Princeton has been receiving tens of millions of dollars of federal funding in violation of the Race Discrimination Act.’ The department also announced it is opening an investigation of Eisgruber and of Princeton. It has sent a formal records request, which means the president and all his top people will have to produce every single email and communication they’ve sent. Ouch! The Princeton president and other head honchos will likewise have to give evidence under oath. And what the Department of Education will be looking for is what, if any, evidence there was that Princeton relied on to claim the university is racist.
It has also demanded a spreadsheet identifying each person who has, on the ground of race, colour or national origin, been excluded or discriminated against as regards any program or activity at Princeton. Oh, and Princeton must also respond to all written questions regarding the basis for claiming that racism is embedded in the university.
To quote the Bard in Hamlet, Eisgruber has been hoist with his own petard. All sentient beings know that there is no racism on any university campus, at least none against the usual minority groups portrayed as victims. (There may well be some against Asian Americans who require much higher marks to get into top US universities than blacks, but that is patently not what Eisgruber meant as these are university-imposed roadblocks.) But there is no way Eisgruber can now come out and say ‘Nothing to see here folks. Just kidding. A little bit of harmless virtue-signalling on my part.’ Nor can he admit there is real, actual racism. This is just wonderful. And from what I’m hearing behind the scenes some of the (extremely) large Princeton donors are fuming mad at Eisgruber and threatening to withhold the big bucks. The only palatable play Eisgruber has is to try to run out the clock in the hope of a Biden win when he, and everyone else, knows that this will be quickly dropped.
But notice what happened here. Trump adopted the street fighting tactics of the Left and fought back. This is basically unheard of amongst right-of-centre politicians around the rest of the Anglosphere.
Seven years of Coalition governments have not fought back on a single front of the culture wars – not on free speech, not on the universities, not on the ABC, not on appointing a few real conservatives to important posts. Nada, nothing, zippo, zero. Sure, with Trump you’re buying a brawler who’s a vulgarian. But you know what? For a long time now I’ve been ready for anyone who’ll fight back. Give me a brawler any day! Lord knows there is not a scintilla of evidence of any fight in the dog in any Coalition party (federal or state) in this country.
Or take appointments to the top court in the US. No other right-of-centre anglosphere leader would have stood by Brett Kavanaugh, the man Trump nominated for the Supreme Court and who the Left then attempted to destroy based on, well, zero evidence. Or take the Supreme Court vacancy that has just come up with the death of Ruth Ginsburg. All the Vichy Never-Trumpers urged the president to wait to make a nomination. Nope, Trump said he’ll make a nomination and he expects the Senate, controlled by the Republicans, to confirm the nominee before the election. This puts incredible pressure on these Republican senators, most of whom need the Republican base much more than they need a few inner- city Christopher Pyne type voters.
It gets better. Trump opted to nominate Amy Coney Barrett, the person most hated by the left wing of the Democrats because she is solidly interpretively conservative, a practising, devout Catholic (with seven kids, five her own and two adopted from Haiti). There were others on the shortlist less inflammatory to the Left. Trump went for the most inflammatory pick. He did this in direct response to what the Democrats shamelessly did to Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. Now we have two High Court of Australia openings coming up here. In the aftermath of the woeful Love judgment, where Coalition Brandis appointees were way to the left of Labor appointees, who is confident that A-G Porter and Mr Morrison will make two solid, not-inner-Melbourne-progressive type picks? Not me, I can tell you.
Last point worth making. You won’t hear this on the ABC or any mainstream US media. Ginsburg, darling of the Left who insulted candidate Trump before the 2016 election, spent 27 years on the Supreme Court. Each US top justice hires about five top law student law clerks each year. So that’s about 150 clerks hired by Ginsburg over the years. How many blacks did this darling of the Left hire during all that time? If you guessed ‘one’ (and zero in her 13 years as a federal appeals court judge before that), you’re a winner.
Now don’t get me wrong. If Ginsburg hired based solely on what she saw as merit I applaud that. I am stridently opposed to affirmative action. The trouble is that in her judicial decision-making Ginsburg consistently voted to uphold affirmative action type requirements that stopped all sorts of others from doing what she did. One out of 150 would be deemed, by her (not me), to constitute solid evidence of systemic racism.
What’s the word I’m searching for in describing that sort of behaviour? Ah yes, ‘hypocrisy’.
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