Our Enemy, The University

There is a lecture transcript at the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog by Jacob Levy, a Poli Sci professor at McGill University, with a PhD from Princeton. He argues that it is perfectly reasonable for universities to exclude hurtful language from their premises and, it seems, banning those that repeatedly express those views from campus. You see, says our Dr. Levy, we don’t allow people to go into churches and desecrate them, so we shouldn’t allow people to do the equivalent, which is apparently political incorrect expression, at colleges. This seems to be a telling confession that college functions as a left-wing church.

However, Levy says that not only should private universities exclude the politically unfashionable, but public universities should as well. So much for the libertarian commitment to the First Amendment. But, of course, there really is not that great a difference between a private and public university. They both receive money from the government, and the most important universities to our ruling state apparatus are actually the private Ivy League colleges. Note that all of the Supreme Court Justices have a law degree from either Harvard or Yale. But yeah, controlling what thoughts are allowed to be expressed at the pinnacle of the thought-controlling power structure is just like not allowing Satanists to desecrate your local Baptist church.

An example Levy gives of what should not be allowed on residential college campuses is the argument “well I think everyone should be admitted to university on their own merit and we should abolish affirmative action.” Levy explains that this cannot be allowed because it makes PoC feel uncomfortable and that’s not nice. He quotes a student at Yale who was upset that it was suggested that maybe Halloween costumes shouldn’t be strictly regulated to avoid offense to minorities: “this place, this residential college, this dorm that you are the faculty member associated with, this needs to be a place where I can go catch my breath.” Indeed, as Professor Mark Oppenheimer of Yale said of the “benefits” of residential college, they should be a safe place where students “can sleep until 10 or 11, go to class only three or four hours a day, have lots of sex, and party with alcohol and drugs relatively consequence-free.” How dare anyone suggest that such a “safe space” might not be ideal!?

The fact that banning politically incorrect expression in the dorms, while keeping PoC feeling safe, might make those that hold those banned views feel the opposite of safe, as they are constantly on edge, seems to have never entered Levy’s mind. Why don’t right-wing students have a right to feel secure in their own home? Why must they be barred from expressing their true beliefs where they ought to have the most freedom to be themselves, where they live? Instead, according to Levy they have to stand there, muzzled, as fellow students go on about how affirmative action is great and anyone who disagrees shouldn’t be allowed to attend the school.

One of the strangest parts of Professor Levy’s speech is his claim that the government is a purposeless institution. He does this by making a distinction between enterprise associations and civil associations. Enterprise associations, says Levy, are like bowling leagues or book clubs, where people come together to attain a goal that is difficult or impossible outside of such an association. In contrast, “The civil association has no purposes. And the civil association is a kind of categorical idealization of what a liberal or constitutional government is like.” Again, “The civil association itself, the government itself, must not have purposes of its own. It’s not [for example] trying to make us all Protestants. What It’s doing is its saying ‘if you want to have a church here is how you do it. ‘”

This must come as a shock to most libertarians, who traditionally believe that the government ought to exist for the purpose of a more effective defense of persons and property, just as a chess club exists for the purpose of a more effective means for people who enjoy playing chess to meet and play. Even Marx understood that the state is not a purposeless institution but is very, very purposeful, being the executive committee of the ruling class. The government is just one arm of the state apparatus by which our rulers impose their views upon us. The university is another.

Levy then goes on to argue that the university is itself a purposeful institution, and so it is just as reasonable for the university to prohibit activity that impedes its purpose as it is for a church to prohibit its desecration. This alleged purpose of universities is so naïve, you will have to read it yourself to believe it: “The purpose of the university is organized, structured, teaching, and research.” The real purpose of the university is the control and domination of society, and as Mencius Moldbug has pointed out, it has succeeded. Harvard has conquered the world and its professors and alumni hold the prestige and the power and the money. This is why Professor Levy is allowed to promote his views in public and holds a prestigious position at McGill University while those of us on TRS have to hide behind pseudonyms in fear as the surplus value produced by wagecucks is used to pay Levy’s salary. (Well, McGill is a public Canadian university, so technically the Canucks are the ones paying his salary.)

Once Trump is president, I suggest that he consider a proposal by Mencius Moldbug and have “a tank or two [driven] into Harvard Yard.”